Frank Lampard and his family may have a storied FA Cup past, but when it comes to the competition this year his focus is set on helping the current Chelsea stars win silverware.
We meet Manchester United at Wembley tomorrow aiming to take a step closer to lifting the trophy Lampard won four times as a Chelsea player. His father, Frank Lampard senior, was triumphant with West Ham in 1975 and 1980, while his uncle Harry Redknapp was the last English manager to win the tournament, with Portsmouth 12 years ago.
So although it is clear Lampard doesn’t need reminding just how special the Cup is, it is not because of family history that he is determined to lead Chelsea to glory.
‘My absolute focus is this year and what it means for us and what it means for this group of players and the club,’ said Lampard.
‘It’s been a tough year where maybe at times people have questioned whether we would push to certain levels. We are now at a level in the Cup where we are playing a team in fantastic form, and if we were to get through that we’d play another team in really good form, and that’s the end of where it goes for me in terms of wanting to win: what it means for this club and the group.
‘I was fortunate enough to win it as a player,’ continued Lampard. ‘I grew up on it and those wins of my Dad in ’75 and ’80, so I have a strong feeling about the FA Cup, and that has never changed for me as the years have gone by.
‘Now I am manager every cup you’re in you want to do your best to win it, and it wouldn’t fall short on me the pride of being able to walk out the club I love at Wembley. Even for a semi-final, it’s a huge game against Manchester United, and I will be very proud on Sunday.’
Lampard is also not concerned by our three previous meetings with Manchester United this season, all of which ended in defeat. He knows we played ‘some good stuff’ and with a bit more luck, and possibly help from VAR, the outcomes might have been different.
‘They counter-attacked us at Old Trafford to great effect, pretty similar at the Bridge, so I won’t go short on those details, but what I won’t get caught up in is that we must have revenge because of that. We respect them as what they are: a very good team with very good individuals in very good form.’
A notable facet of Man United’s season so far has been the volume of penalties they have been awarded: 18 in all competitions, of which 14 have been converted. Lampard recognises his defenders must pay extra attention inside our 18-yard box.
‘When players with such high quality and speed as the Manchester United forwards travel quickly, you have to move your feet and not dive in on them,’ he noted.
‘That’s an important part of defending at any point in time. [Bruno] Fernandes is very clever in his movement, we saw that at Aston Villa to make something feel like a penalty when maybe it isn’t.
‘We can talk about VAR decisions and whether they’re right or wrong, but if a player is going to dangle a leg and not work their feet, then you leave yourself open to penalties, VAR or no VAR.’