Shortly after Monday morning’s draw for the first knockout stage of the Champions League, Frank Lampard spoke about the challenge that awaits his side in the competition in the new year.
Chelsea, as group winners, were paired with one of the second-placed sides and it was Spanish club Atletico Madrid whose name came out.Diego Simeone’s side have a strong pedigree in the Champions League and domestically, and naturally Lampard is not taking the tie lightly.‘I think most people will say it is the toughest draw we could have had when you go on current form, how they are doing in La Liga, European experience and the quality of the team and players.‘On the other hand all draws are difficult in the Champions League. We have to have believe in ourselves and when that game comes around, you have to try to beat these sort of teams if you are going to win the Champions League, so it is what it is.’
Although they lost 2-0 to Real Madrid at the weekend, Atletico are level on points with leaders Real Sociedad and have two games in hand. They came second to Bayern Munich in their Champions League group.‘I watched them knock Liverpool out last year and they are obviously a great team,’ added Lampard, ‘and they have that experience and they have quality in their squad, so I think most people would say they are certainly one of the toughest teams we could have drawn on paper but we’ll have to turn up and do our job and be confident we can beat them.’