Frank Lampard has said this morning’s news regarding the overturning of Manchester City’s Champions League ban, and with it the end of any hope fifth place would qualify for next season’s competition, should not and will not have any bearing on his or his players’ attitudes to the finale of the current campaign.
UEFA issued the ban in February after ruling City had committed ‘serious breaches’ of Financial Fair Play regulations between 2012 and 2016, but this morning the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned their two-year suspension from European football. Lampard was asked if he was surprised or disappointed at that news at his press conference today, but he remained at pains to stress the focus is only on his team and the fixtures that await.
‘I was pretty neutral on it, I don’t know much about the case, any of the details,’ stated Lampard. ‘I just listened to the result as everyone else did this morning.
‘I don’t see beyond the games ahead. We want to win them and see if it gets us Champions League football for next season. I was never pinning my hopes on it meaning another team getting in. We worry about ourselves.
‘My only concern is the games ahead. We’re at a critical stage of the season. Norwich tomorrow, then Liverpool and Wolves in the league. We know what’s in front us. We know the capability we have in the squad. We have shown this season at lots of different points the reason why we’ve got into third. Now we need to try to finish the job.’
Lampard reported the latest injury news
‘Kante’s not fit. He has a chance for the semi-final on Sunday.
‘Andreas Christensen had to come off at half-time [at Sheffield United] with an injury, but he’s back in the squad. The rest is as we were.’
Relegated Norwich visit with the Blues on a four-match winning home streak
‘If you don’t turn up or don’t perform it doesn’t matter what momentum you feel you have, but having good home form recently is good for confidence. We have to carry on from the Watford game in particular.
‘We have to treat Norwich with utmost respect. They have quality players; a lot of games I have seen them this season they have been unfortunate not to get results. That’s the nature of the Premier League, but we are expecting a very tough game.’
Lampard said he will consider how many changes he will make after Saturday’s setback in Sheffield
‘What I have got is a group where people are competing to get in the team. There has to be a level whereby if we make mistakes or don’t reach the levels we want, people who are working hard in training can come in and offer something the same or better. I also have to think about the freshness of the squad.
‘As much as I would like a settled team – and at times this year I would love to pick certain partnerships or units of the team and keep going and keep going - for reasons of where we’re at this season that hasn’t always been easy.’