TIFUL TO BE BACK
Frank’s Euro love affair
FRANK LAMPARD cannot wait for Chelsea’s name to come out in today’s draw – so he can rekindle his love affair with the Champions League.
He won the trophy as a player when the Blues beat Bayern Munich in the 2012 final, scoring in the penalty shoot-out.
Now he is about to take his first steps in the competition as a manager and is determined to write a new chapter in Chelsea’s history.
Lampard said: “It’s important for us. It’s where we want to be. It gets tougher every year, and finishing third and winning the Europa League obviously got us that status.
“I had some great nights in it – great moments, great memories. Talking to the players, they want to play in it and show what we’re about.
“It’s nice that we’re there. It means we have to keep our league performance up to make sure we’re in it next year.
“We have to meet that challenge head-on. It’s the greatest competition in club football. I was lucky enough to win it once. I’m looking forward to working in it as a manager.”
Chelsea have been hit and miss so far this season under Lampard, who is relying on youngsters like Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham.
With Eden Hazard gone and the club not able to sign any reinforcements in the summer due to their transfer ban, they will be huge underdogs against the Champions League elite. But beating Arsenal in the Europa League final in May means they are in Pot One and will avoid Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern and Paris St-Germain.
Still, Lampard knows the size of the challenge facing his side, who won their first game with him in charge at Norwich last weekend.
Lampard added: “I think the Premier League is so strong and that’s clear when you have two teams in the final. The English, we are strong at the moment. Hopefully that continues because that’s great for us as Englishmen.
“We know the difficulties of the ban and where we’re at.
“But it shouldn’t take away from the great challenge we have to try to do well in it.”