Frank Lampard believes Antonio Conte can lead Chelsea to a serious title challenge this season.
The Blues' record goalscorer is still an avid Premier League watcher despite plying his trade with New York City in Major League Soccer and thinks Conte is the man to turn around his old side's fortunes.
Lampard has heard good things from Andrea Pirlo, his New York team-mate and a former Conte player with Juventus and Italy.
"Being at Chelsea for such a long time I have an allegiance so I would obviously like Chelsea to win the league and I think they'll be back challenging," he told BBC Radio 5.
"I do fancy it being between Chelsea and Manchester City this year.
"I spoke to Pirlo (about Conte) about him and he had nothing but great things to say. He works the lads very hard in training with his fitness work and with organisation on the pitch.
"The players will need to buy into that and respect that then you'll see an improvement from last year."
Frank Lampard scored a hat-trick as New York City strengthened their position at the top of Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference with a 5-1 thrashing of 10-man Colorado Rapids.
The Rapids went into the game in second place in the Western Conference, with games in hand on leaders FC Dallas.
However, they faced an uphill battle after Michael Azira was sent off in the 37th minute - nine minutes after Lampard had opened the scoring.
Tony Taylor doubled the lead three minutes before the interval, and then three goals inside the last 15 minutes completed the rout.
Substitute Steven Mendoza got the third, before former England midfielder Lampard netted twice in three minutes - the second of which was a penalty - to complete his hat-trick
Shkelzen Gashi replied for the Rapids in the last minute - but it was little consolation.
Frank Lampard made his long-awaited season debut for New York City following an injury lay-off, but his first experience of a derby Stateside couldn't have gone much worse, as the New York Red Bulls thrashed City FC 7-0 at Yankee Stadium.
Bradley Wright-Phillips and Dax McCarty each scored twice before Alex Muyl, Gonzalo Veron and Gideon Bash ran up the score to match the largest margin of victory in MLS history.
Lampard, 37, who joined New York City last year, earns $6,000,000 (£4,108,660) – more than all of the Red Bulls team combined. Sections of the City home support booed him when he entered the fray.
Former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is concerned the Blues are lacking "real personalities" and believes their current Premier League position is "ridiculous".
Under the leadership of interim manager, Chelsea have put a poor start to the season behind them, as they now sit 11th in the league.
However, former England international Lampard, who played more than 400 games for the club between 2001 and 2014, sees John Terry as the last of the big personalities at Stamford Bridge.
I do worry about where the real personalities of the team are. To be a big team, you have to have big personalities.
I don't want to sound like I am harking back to the days of me and John (Terry) and Ashley Cole and Petr Cech and Didier Drogba but I do see a team now where John is the last mainstay of that identity.
Maybe Chelsea are looking for a more beautiful way now. The club has been trying to push it down that route with the players they have recruited over the last four or five years.
The problem is if you fall in the middle, somewhere between tough and beautiful. It's nice football at times but it's not that nice and it's not really winning games. It's not beautiful, beautiful stuff.
They need to buy two or three big players. Because being 11th in the Premier League is ridiculous for Chelsea.
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Frank Lampard scored his first goal in Major League Soccer as New York City recorded a 2-0 victory against Toronto FC on Wednesday.
The former Chelsea and England midfielder, making just his fifth MLS appearance after a series of injury setbacks, fired home from the edge of the penalty area to give his side a 20th-minute lead at Yankee Stadium.
New York City had to make do without star striker David Villa after he was ruled out with a hamstring injury but fellow forward Patrick Mullins made sure of the points when he headed home a second goal from an Andrea Pirlo corner in the 77th minute.
Frank Lampard got on the end of a James Milner cross to give Manchester City the lead against Southampton.