Frank Lampard has urged Chelsea’s youngsters to learn their lessons in the ‘cut throat’ Champions League as the club prepare to begin their European campaign this week.
Chelsea host Europa League winners Sevilla in their opening fixture of the group stages tomorrow night, looking to improve on last season’s performance after being eliminated in the last-16 by eventual winners Bayern Munich.
That defeat proved comprehensive and conclusive as the west London outfit were thrashed over two legs by the treble-winning German giants, and Lampard is hoping his younger players have learned from a chastening experience as they prepare for another season amongst Europe’s elite.
“The players that were here last year, and talking about the young players particularly in the Bayern Munich games because of the strong opposition, it would have been a learning curve for them,” Lampard said, as per the Chelsea website.
“That’s the Champions League; it’s the top club competition in world football. They will be better for it; they will want to improve this year in that. We will see how much they have learned.”
Lampard is confident his side’s expensive summer outlay has left Chelsea better positioned to compete with the finest sides in European football this season, with a host of the club’s summer signings arriving with pedigree in the competition.
However, he has warned his side about the ‘cut-throat’ nature of the Champions League and has called for ‘absolute focus’ as Chelsea prepare to welcome a strong Sevilla side to Stamford Bridge in their opening fixture.
“Of the players we have brought in, some have more Champions League experience than others,” the former midfielder added.
“We generally have younger players so it’s important we try and make sure we learn any lessons as we go because the Champions League is so cut-throat.
“You have to have absolute focus because of the level of teams you’re playing, and particularly as we start against Sevilla.”