Frank Lampard is urging his side to ‘take responsibility’ when they come up against a ‘strong’ Manchester United side this afternoon in the FA Cup semi-final.
The clash – a repeat of the 2017 final – will be the fourth meeting between the two teams this season, Manchester United having won all of the other three, including a 4-0 rout on the opening day of the season at Old Trafford.
Aside from their pursuit of silverware in the cup, the two sides are also competing in the league for a place in the top four, and while United are currently on a 19 game unbeaten run, Chelsea, on the other hand, have continued to have a number of erratic results.
The Blues have lost to West Ham and Sheffield United since the Premier League‘s restart last month, and speaking ahead of this evening’s Wembley encounter, Frank Lampard highlighted the need to eradicate the ‘individual errors’ – particularly in defence – that have blighted his side over the course of the season.
“A big problem of ours this season is that we have been committing individual errors in games, and sometimes in games where we have been in good comfort,” said the Chelsea manager at his pre-match press conference. “But a counter-attack or a cross into our box, where we haven’t really been having to defend our box that regularly necessarily through the season.
“Certain games have been different like Sheffield United, where we just didn’t play well as a team. We have had individual errors in big moments which have changed the face of the results slightly. It has been too regular, no doubt. I look at it, as it’s my responsibility, individually where can we improve? It can only come on a training ground.
“This is what it is, and collectively how can we improve as well. We will always take responsibility as a whole, I always work on it and we will have to be very much on top of ourselves when it comes to the quality of the opposition we have on Sunday. It was good to get a clean sheet against Norwich, but this will be a different animal and we will have to defend very well.”
Manchester United have netted 21 goals in the eight goals since the restart, conceding just six, and the former midfielder admitted his side will need ‘a complete performance’ to get past Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
“Two big teams are going up against each other. We all know their front three are playing very, very well; the amount of goals they’ve put together has been amazing.
“And so we have to understand that and work against that. But they do have a strong team throughout; their midfield is functioning very well now, the introduction of Bruno Fernandes gave them a huge boost in January, I think everyone’s seen that.
“So we need a complete performance to challenge Manchester United.”
The winners will face Arsenal in next month’s final, Mikel Arteta’s side having beaten holders Man City in Saturday’s other semi-final.