According to interim manager Frank Lampard, Chelsea is excited about the challenge of playing Real Madrid as the underdog in their Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday.
Graham Potter was fired as Chelsea’s manager on April 2 before Lampard was reinstated, and the team has had a terrible season and is stumbling along in 11th place in the Premier League.
On his first day back in charge of the team as a caretaker on Saturday, Lampard’s Blues were defeated 1-0 against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The Premier League is one of the greatest challenges in world football … and those challenges have obviously taken us to a place we don’t want to be as Chelsea,” Lampard told a news conference on Tuesday, ahead of his second game in charge.
I think the Champions League sometimes offers you a bit of escapism from that – a different speed of game, knockout football, those things can all contribute to getting different success in the same season.
There’s pressure on both teams due to the size of both clubs. Are Real Madrid favourites? Yes. (But) there’s no better carrot in football than trying to prove people wrong.
I think that’s a nice challenge for us. I’m not worried about that, in terms of pressure. Football at this level is pressure and if you can’t handle it, you’re not a big club or big player.Frank Lampard said.
The only feasible way for Chelsea to qualify for Europe’s top competition for the upcoming season is to win the Champions League with eight Premier League games remaining and a deficit of 17 points to the top-four.
They played Real Madrid in the quarterfinals of the previous season as well. After winning the second leg 3-2 at home, they were eliminated on aggregate after dropping the first leg 3-1.
One thing I would say that the players have to understand is that this is a special arena and special football club, My focus will not be on last year, it will be on what we can do this year as a team.
I think we have to understand the strength of the Real Madrid team. We have to be disciplined with our game off the ball, understand the threats, ways they like to score and how they control the game.
We also have to show our own strengths in our game. We have to have belief and follow through with what the idea is under pressure.
They’re all fit, they’re all in the squad. They are good and they are here.Frank Lampard added.
Thiago Silva, Mason Mount, and N’Golo Kante, who all missed the trip to Wolves but trained with the team on Tuesday, as well as the Chelsea manager, stated they would all be available.