LAMPARD: PUSHING ON

Posted on: Fri 30 Mar 2012

As has so often been the case over the years, Frank Lampard proved his worth on the big stage as we produced a stirring comeback to eliminate Napoli from the Champions League, and the midfielder hopes the result can act as a springboard for the remainder of the campaign as we look to finish the season on a high.

When the Blues were awarded a penalty late in the game, and with the tension inside the stadium almost unbearable, Lampard showed nerves of steel to fire his kick past Morgan De Sanctis to force extra-time, his 22nd goal in Champions League history, and he called on his teammates to ensure we kick on from here.

'It was a huge night, it goes right up there with the very best nights we've had in Europe,' said the 33-year-old. 'To be 3-1 down against a very good team, there's no mistake that their attacking threat and the players they have going forward particularly are very strong, so it was a big ask for us to win tonight and we done it.

'It means more when people are writing you off and when English football is having a funny year, we're used to teams being in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final, but it's a bit of a freak year for me, I don't think it means we're any worse off, it can happen.

'For us as a club here, considering the circumstances, it's been a difficult season of ups and downs so hopefully this will push us on for the rest of the season.

'It needs to carry on; you saw a great spirit, a great energy in the team, the desire, there were people with cramp running at the end and putting their bodies on the line.'

As the shock of overcoming the Italian side began to sink in, thoughts turned towards the quarter-finals, and potential opponents.

As anticipated, the last eight is littered with some of the most glamorous names in European football, as well as a couple of surprise packages, but while Lampard argued few teams would relish drawing us at this stage, he is well aware of the potential pitfalls a trip to Spain could bring.

'It's a very tough competition to win as we know probably more than most and, at times, people have expected us to win it and we haven't, so who knows?' he said.

'We haven't even thought about the draw, we're so happy to be in the next round after being 3-1 down, but we have to believe, and we do believe that we can beat anyone.

'It's obvious that Barcelona are the strongest team, along with Real Madrid, but we must enjoy it and we must carry on because we do have ability in this team, particularly at Stamford Bridge on a night like tonight, nobody will want to come here and play us when we've got that about us.'

There is now a renewed sense of belief, both among players and supporters alike, and interim first team coach Roberto Di Matteo deserves credit for securing three successive wins across three different competitions.

Lampard paid tribute to the work the Italian has carried out since taking charge just under a fortnight ago, but remains adamant that our impressive cup form must extend into the league if we are to guarantee Champions League football at Stamford Bridge next season.

'He's done very well with three wins out of three. I think Robbie is a very Chelsea man and he's shown that with his heart on his sleeve and he deserves that celebration tonight,' said Lampard.

'He just said we need to play with a desire, with pride for the team. He told us to do the basics and I think if you have that then you've got a chance of winning games. He's stepped up, he's been emotional, he cares about the club and it's reflective on him and his situation that we've had three wins, he deserves it.

'The league form's important because who knows if we can win the Champions League? It's very tough, but to secure this type of football for next season we need to kick on in the league so we need to carry this performance into very tough games we've got coming up in the next couple of weeks.'