When Ed Woodward spoke to Manchester United investors on Wednesday he tried to defend the club's approach in the transfer market, an approach that has been the subject of intense criticism this summer.
The executive vice-chairman spoke of how transfer fees had fallen, how free transfers and loans were up, how peers such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus had barely spent anything, but at some point he had to mention the elephant in the room: Chelsea.
"Of course there were one or two outliers the other way, most notably Chelsea, who were making up for not being able to be active during their transfer ban in summer 2019," said Woodward of the £250million outlay at Stamford Bridge.
"But one needs to look across multiple windows to gain a clearer perspective; and as I mentioned earlier our aggregate net investment over the last three transfer windows compares very favourably with our peers."
Chelsea's transfer ban last summer probably means that over the last couple of seasons Solskjaer and Lampard have been given a similar level of commitment, but while United's has been a gradual rebuild, Chelsea's investment has come all at once, with the pressure that puts on a manager.
This summer has felt the rekindling of Roman Abramivoch's aggressive transfer strategy at Chelsea, the kind of approach they used in the first couple of years of Russian ownership when David Dein, then Arsenal director, said Abramovich had "parked Russian tanks on our lawn, firing £50 notes at us" to describe the spending.
But whereas the spending of 2004 and 2005 had Jose Mourinho to knit it all together, now it's the relatively untested Lampard tasked with assembling a winning team out of some expensive parts.
Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva, Kai Havertz and Edouard Mendy have all arrived at Stamford Bridge this summer and while fitness has been an issue for some, Chelsea's start to the season hasn't been that of a team injected with such quality.
Expectations were low for Lampard's first season and he did a decent job, particularly when it came to promoting academy graduates. Now he has to balance continuing to give youth a chance with adding in the star names to build a team that can come closer to the title.
So far the jury is very much out. The 3-3 draws with West Brom and Southampton raise major concerns about the progress defensively, while Chelsea were second best for large parts against Sevilla on Tuesday. Lampard's new team were also comprehensively outplayed by Liverpool earlier in the season.
United, for all that the 6-1 defeat to Tottenham at Old Trafford rocked their foundations, finished above the Blues last season and go above them again this season with a win this evening, as well as having a game in hand.
There were envious glances towards Stamford Bridge this summer as they spent money in the manner of a team determined to back an inexperienced manager and get closer to Manchester City and Liverpool. United's business in the window was poor, despite the late additions of Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani, but sometimes it's wiser to build gradually, rather than seek an immediate overhaul.
Lampard can vouch for that at the moment and if United do claim all three points tonight the pressure will only increase on the Stamford Bridge boss.
Solskjaer has survived his own rocky periods and his ability to fashion a win or two when it is most needed has been on show again this week, with impressive away wins at Newcastle and Paris St-Germain beginning to soothe the memory of the Spurs horrorshow.
A third successive win will reassert their candidacy for a top-four finish. While that should have been the least of United's ambitions this season, they have made steady progress under Solskjaer, and sometimes steady progress is easier to come by than rapid progress, as Lampard is finding out.