Chelsea FC midfielder Frank Lampard (33) has described the task of facing FC Barcelona over a two-legged tie as an ultimate challenge but looking at his team’s recent run of good form, Lampard suggests that Chelsea must play with confidence and conviction against the Catalan team.
“There are not many teams you’d fancy to beat Barcelona over two legs of a semi-final, and they’ve shown just how good they are in the last few years,” said the English international player. “It’s a huge, huge challenge. As big as anyone could take on. If we win it would be one of the biggest victories, even if it does only put us in the final and doesn’t win us the cup. I don’t mind us being written off. I understand what people are saying: everyone has this feeling with Barcelona that they’re going to roll over everyone. When they’re at their best, they can do that.”
Lampard added that: “I’m probably the same because, whenever I watch Barcelona on TV, I expect them to win. But, if we play the way we did against Spurs, with the same focus and determination and with the ability we have in our team, we have to believe we have a chance. You have to believe in yourself. At Chelsea we feel we’ve given them tough games when we’ve met before and we’re ready to do that again.”
“We are aware of their strengths – the manager and coaching staff have studied them, and we all watch their games – and they’ve probably moved on from 2009. But we’ve changed as well. We’ll look at it as it is now. We can’t show too much fear against them. We have to respect them but we have take them on and play the way we did against Tottenham. That [performance] was a symbol of Chelsea at our best. We were very strong all over the pitch and looked solid. If we do that, we can give anyone in world football a game, including Barcelona.”
Speaking about Lionel Messi, who is in a purple patch of form right now, Lampard said: “He’s a different player to 2009. He was a fantastic player then but now he’s improved even more. The level he’s taken his game to is something I’ve never seen before. I grew up on [Diego] Maradona who was my idol as a player, but Messi has taken it to even higher levels. To score 70 goals, which he’ll probably end up with this season … well, those are crazy figures. He’s the best player in the world on merit – absolutely unbelievable.”
“Our fixture list is amazing and thank God for that because, when we lost away at Napoli [in the round of 16 first leg in February], you could see our season flitting away,” Lampard said when asked about Chelsea’s recent good results. “Now, all of a sudden, we’re interested in everything. We’re all happy to be here and the manager has to take a lot of credit. You can see the desire and love he has for the club and the fans relate to that. But he’s done the simple things right: the basics of management, for me, are man-management and he’s done that brilliantly. He’s got individuals playing well, with confidence, and when that happens you have the chance of being a very strong team.” he concluded.
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