LAMPARD: BRING IT ON
In the absence of the suspended John Terry, Frank Lampard will lead the Blues out for the Champions League Final against Bayern Munich in what could turn out to be the most memorable night of the midfielder's career, and he insisted that going into the game as underdogs could yet turn out to be a blessing in disguise.
With the game taking place at Bayern's stadium, the German side have been widely tipped to lift the prize. Crucially, however, as Lampard acknowledges, all of the pressure is resting on the shoulders of Jupp Heynckes' team.
'It's been great over here so far, the atmosphere is amazing,' he said. 'We've sampled a bit already, going from the airport to the hotel.
'It gives them an advantage, to get changed in your own dressing room, to play in your own city, but that's brilliant. To be an underdog, for whatever reason, helps. As long as you have a quiet determination and belief in yourself, then bring it on.'
Much has been made of the suspensions which see us approach the biggest game in our history deprived of four key players in Terry, Ramires, Branislav Ivanovic and Raul Meireles. Any team in the world would miss players of that ilk, but Lampard sees it as an opportunity for others to stake a claim, and praised two teammates in particular who have excelled of late, and will be crucial if we are to stand any chance of winning the trophy which has eluded us for so long.
'My emotions won't be any different, I'll be very proud,' said Lampard. 'I put the armband on when John [Terry] doesn't play and there might be a bit more responsibility.
'As a team, the arrival of Juan Mata has added strength. Now we've been able to get him on the ball more in the middle of the pitch than when he was playing out wide.
'Ash [Ashley Cole] has been huge for us as well, on and off the pitch. He's one of the first in to the training ground every day, he feels for the club even though he moved from another big London club and it seems the bigger the game, the better he plays.'