Managing in the Champions League is a “huge honor.”
Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s caretaker manager, says it’s a “huge honor” to lead the club into the Champions League quarter-finals less than a week after taking over.
Lampard, who was named as Graham Potter’s interim replacement on Thursday, will lead the Blues to the Bernabeu for the first leg against Real Madrid on Wednesday.
The 44-year-old said the “amazing” opportunity to manage in Europe again played a “significant role” in his return to Chelsea, two years after his first stint as manager ended.
“I’ve had the good fortune to manage in the Champions League for two seasons,” Lampard said.
“As a player, it was always the special competition, so to be here as a manager – especially since I didn’t know I’d be here a week ago today – is a huge honor, and a big part of my thought process in taking on the challenge here.”
“It’s an incredible challenge for me personally, as well as for us as a team and a club.” Personally, I’m looking forward to the occasion.”
Lampard said midfielders N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount, as well as defender Thiago Silva, would be available after missing Saturday’s Premier League defeat at Wolves.
Chelsea’s only remaining hope of silverware this season, following early FA and League Cup exits, is the Champions League, but the Blues are coming off a poor run of form in the Premier League, which has left them 11th in the table.
“The Premier League is one of the greatest challenges in world football, and those challenges have obviously taken us to a place as Chelsea that we don’t want to be,” Lampard said.
“I think the Champions League provides some escapism from that – a different pace of game, knockout football, all of those things can contribute to different success in the same season.”
“Because of the size of both clubs, both teams are under pressure.” Is Real Madrid the favorite? Yes. [However], there is no better carrot in football than proving people wrong.
“I believe that is a good challenge for us.” In terms of pressure, I’m not concerned. Football at this level is a high-pressure environment, and if you can’t handle it, you’re not a big club or a big player.”