Frank Lampard admits the Champions League will be ‘a big challenge’ for Chelsea this season thanks to the ‘difficulties’ caused by their transfer ban
Chelsea will return to Europe’s premier competition this season after a one year absence , but will go straight into pot one for Thursday’s group stage draw after winning the Europa League last season.
Lampard admits that he is excited by the prospect of leading the club in the Champions League, and says he is hopeful Chelsea can continue the recent success of English teams in the tournament, though is realistic of the ‘big challenge’ ahead having been served a two-window transfer ban.
“I think the Premier League is so strong and that’s clear when you have two teams in the final. Manchester City are clearly an absolutely top team in world football,” Lampard said.
“The English, we are strong at the moment. Hopefully that continues because that’s great for us as Englishmen.
“We’re happy to do that. It will be a big challenge for us. We know the difficulties of the ban etc and where we’re at. But it shouldn’t take away from the great challenge we have to try to do well in it.
“Talking to the players, they want to play in it and show what we’re about.”
Lampard won the tournament in 2012 whilst a player at Stamford Bridge, and admits the Champions League is where Chelsea ‘want to be’. The former Derby boss says he is looking forward to now testing himself in the tournament as a manager and says the club must ensure they maintain their standards to secure qualification again next season.
“It’s important for us. It’s where we want to be,” he added.
“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. 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.”