New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard hopes to finish his inaugural MLS season on a high after his side were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention this week.
Injuries and a lack of fitness hampered the former Chelsea man's debut season with the expansion franchise. And while the disappointing campaign may have come to a competitive end, Lampard said the squad must "do the right thing" as they play out the string.
"The important thing is to be professional to each other, individually to do the right thing for the last few games and for the fans and people who have supported us the full season," Lampard said on Thursday. "We have to try and put in two good performances, two wins and finish on a high."
Lampard arrived in New York after playing a full season with Manchester CIty in the Premier League. The former England international missed his first two scheduled league debuts with a calf strain, before seeing his first action in a 3-2 loss to Montreal.
Lampard accepts the setbacks as part of the game, and vowed to look after himself in the offseason to prevent a repeat of this season.
"I wish I could have not had the injuries, but every player has to accept that injuries come along sometimes," he said. "My aim now is to manage myself well for next season, to finish this season on a high, have some breaks at times, but keep ticking over, have a really good preseason and throw everything into next year."
He added: "I need the rest to be fully fit next year for the club."
Of the lack of postseason soccer, the 2012 Champions League winner has taken the events in stride.
"I've been at some of the best teams in world football at times, and not every season is successful. It comes with the territory," Lampard said.
"The important thing is that when you have a season that falls below your standards, whether you're not making playoffs, not winning the league, you have to come back mentally stronger and better."
"For me, personally, I can't talk highly enough about playing over here," Lampard said. "I look forward to having a full year, cracking in next year and hopefully starting the season well, getting into the playoffs, which I think we should be as a club, and having a real crack at it."