At Wembley this afternoon Chelsea and Manchester United’s fight for a top-four finish is temporarily put on hold to focus on the FA Cup, and Frank Lampard does not think the result will have any impact on the finale to the Premier League season.
The two sides have already met three times in 2019/20, and the sense of familiarity has only been heightened by a closely-contested scrap to earn Champions League football next term. Today the fourth and final direct showdown of the season will dictate who meets Arsenal in the FA Cup final on Saturday 1 August, but Lampard doesn’t believe the victor will hold an advantage over the loser in the last two league games.
‘I genuinely think it has no bearing,’ said the boss.
‘This is a competition in itself. We all know what is at stake is a place in the final. The next two games will come very quickly after that. Each of us will deal with it in our own way.’
Dealing with a hectic schedule has been one of the challenges Lampard and his players have faced recently. The win at Leicester in the previous round of the Cup means we will have played every midweek from the season resumption until the league’s conclusion next Sunday.
‘I’m happy with how they’ve coped with it,’ assessed Lampard of his players’ fitness.
‘We did a lot of work in the first parts of training when we came back, socially-distanced small group training, physical work, to get up to speed. The players have reacted well. It’s not easy. I’m always one to say the players should get on with it, they’re professionals, but to play every three days at the level we are is not easy. They’ve done well.
‘There have been moments in games where we have seen tiredness. That’s not just my team. Now we can see an end, it’s getting close, and we have to dig in one more time to get a push for the last few games.’