Frank Lampard is delighted with the ‘incredible challenges’ he will face when Chelsea take on Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Chelsea legend Lampard leads his team to Wednesday’s first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, less than a week after returning to Stamford Bridge as interim manager until the end of the season.
The former midfielder may well feel he has unfinished business with the Blues in European competition as he was sacked midway through the 2020-21 season, the campaign that saw the club win the Champions League under successor Thomas Tuchel.
Although meeting Madrid seems like a daunting task for a manager who was out of the game just a week ago, Lampard is ready to jump at the opportunity.
“It’s amazing. I was lucky to work in the Champions League and be here as a coach, although until a week ago I did not know that I would be here, it’s a huge honor,” he said at a press conference.
“This is an amazing challenge for me personally and for the club.
“I think we have to understand the strength of the Real Madrid team; we have to be disciplined in our game off the ball, understand the threats, how they like to score and how they control the game.
“We also have to show our strengths in our game. We must have faith and follow what the idea is under pressure.”
Chelsea on board.
Destination: Madrid! #Championship pic.twitter.com/hPh3cv0byS
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 11, 2023
Chelsea have struggled for stability at home this season, languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table, and Lampard was asked how and why his side are performing better on the European stage.
“I understand the question because I looked at it from the side. The Premier League is also one of the biggest problems in world football,” he replied.
“I think in the Champions League sometimes they offer some kind of escapism, different speed of play, all of them can contribute to this.
“At this stage you are playing for a Real Madrid team. Comparisons are completely useless.”
Lampard will have Thiago Silva, Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante ready for a trip to the Spanish capital and he feels they, along with the rest of the squad, can answer their critics.
“They’re all right. Three players are good and they are here,” he said.
“It’s normal for a character to be asked questions in a season like this. The only thing the players can do is prove it on the field.
“We do a lot of things behind the scenes and my job is to get them to train at the level and have the mentality and then they have to show it.
“I have no doubt that there is a lot of character here because I saw the dressing room. Sometimes players may lack confidence.”