The boss remembers previous contests in the competition and discusses his respect for our opponents as we prepare for the UEFA Super Cup against Liverpool in Istanbul.
Frank Lampard’s memories of being involved in the UEFA Super Cup as a player still appear sharp in his mind. He captained the Blues, first in Monaco and then in Prague, both times ending up on the losing side, making it one of the few pieces of club silverware he failed to collect during a glittering 13-year career at Stamford Bridge.
A winning mentality means that any gap in the trophy cabinet leaves a lingering feeling of regret and our new head coach clearly feels there is an element of unfinished business with this particular showpiece occasion.
While the defeat on penalties to Bayern Munich in 2013 was a more unfortunate loss, it is the manner of being beaten 4-1 by Atletico Madrid in the aftermath of our Champions League heroics that clearly still irritates Lampard.
‘We came off the back of our Champions League win where we were the underdogs and we weren’t expected to win it so we celebrated it, enjoyed it and I don’t think we realised exactly what we were coming into,’ he admitted.
‘Atletico were a first-tier team in Europe but we had just won the Champions League. We felt like we were the big boys and we were absolutely stunned and shocked when they deservedly sent us home, which was a terrible game for us.’
We competed more capably 12 months later and were denied by victory by Javi Martinez’s late equaliser, before succumbing to Pep Guardiola’s side on spot-kicks. Lampard netted his but Romelu Lukaku’s miss gave the Germans victory.
‘Bayern Munich was completely different,’ continued Lampard. ‘We put in a really good performance and could’ve won the game but they scored in the last moments and then we lost on penalties.
‘I’ve had two great examples of a really important game that you don’t win in two different ways and it makes you more determined to win it.
‘We need to be absolutely ready because it’s a cup that the club desperately wants to win. I’ve never won it, a lot of the players have never won it, so we have to give it everything.’
Liverpool’s European record under Jurgen Klopp is impressive, with the Reds beaten in the Champions League final in 2018 before returning to take the crown against Tottenham in Madrid in June. As a senior player aspiring towards a successful transition into coaching, Klopp caught Lampard’s eye as much for his inimitable management style as well as the football his teams played.
‘I love the challenge of going up against a man that I have so much admiration for as a person, in terms of his character and personality that we see from the outside and also the way his players relate to it,’ explained Lampard.
‘Man-management can be as important as tactics and he is a man who knows how to get everything out of his players, the squad and the club. For me, to have the personal challenge as a manager to go up against him is an honour.
‘I’m proud to manage a club like Chelsea up against a club like Liverpool, against a manager like Jurgen Klopp. It’s a challenge that I want to get right and I want to try to win.’
A performance that was deemed positive overall at Old Trafford was overshadowed by the result, with Lampard citing profligacy in front of goal and mistakes in our own box as particularly significant contributors towards defeat. Three days on, with Liverpool benefiting from almost 48 hours of additional rest than the Blues, Lampard has urged his players not to leave the field with similar regrets in Istanbul.
‘Going up against a team with the quality of Liverpool in a final is as tense as finals can be,’ he said. ‘You can lose them because finals are very tough but what you cannot do is lose on the premise that you weren’t prepared or didn’t have the hunger to try to win a game of this magnitude.
‘It’s going to be tough but we cannot walk off the pitch and think ‘we could have done that’ or ‘we missed that opportunity’ or ‘we weren’t quite ready’. We can’t make any excuses for ourselves. We have to be prepared to win the match.’