Frank Lampard knows our defeat to Real Madrid left us needing something special in the second leg of our Champions League quarter-final, but has seen it happen before at Stamford Bridge with the Chelsea supporters behind us.
Chelsea were reduced to 10 men following a red card for Ben Chilwell against European champions Real Madrid in Spain, and ended up suffering a 2-0 defeat in the first leg of our Champions League quarter-final following goals by Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio either side of half-time.
However, speaking after the game, Frank Lampard pointed to the spirit his team showed to restrict Real Madrid’s chances after the sending off and the chances we created ourselves as reasons to believe a comeback is still possible with home advantage in the second game at Stamford Bridge.
‘It was a big challenge for us,’ said Lampard. ‘The period with 11 men, we were in the game and we had some chances, but I think we could have utilised our strengths better, especially the system with the wing-backs, we could be more urgent.
‘I could see opportunities there tonight and we had good spirit, playing with 10 men in the last half-hour, we didn’t let them have a lot of chances. I liked that part of the game and we have to believe it is possible.
‘I don’t think they carved us open when we had 10 men, which is due to the spirit we showed and we had chances of our own. We had chances of our own. I can think of three really good opportunities – Joao early on, Raheem’s effort and then Mason’s shot at the end – if we put one of those away, then things look very different.
‘I think there were some good things from our display but the result is a reality. I’ve said to the players in the dressing room though, special things can happen at Stamford Bridge.
‘If you don’t believe in top level sport then things don’t happen for you. The mindset and the belief are a percentage of the game. The fans will believe, they will come and support us. I’ve been involved in games that have changed. The possibilities are ours for the taking.’
Lampard went on to discuss the double blow of losing Kalidou Koulibaly to injury shortly before Chilwell was sent off…
‘For sure, it’s a blow to lose Kalidou through injury. People have to come in and step up though. Marc came in and had to do his job and unfortunately we’ve lost a big player in Chilly.
‘He’s a big player for us and would have been in the second leg too. But like I said, people have to come in and step up.’
He also gave his view on the performances of Raheem Sterling and Joao Felix in attack, and whether we will need to anything different in that area when we chase the game in the second leg…
‘The game for Raheem and Joao Felix was a tough match. They had to put in a lot of work and their main threat was on the counter-attack or protecting the ball. It was a difficult night for us at the top end of the pitch, but Joao is a big talent, as is Raheem.
‘We’ve got a long 90 minutes of football in the second leg and our approach will need to be a balanced one. I don’t think you can play without balance against Real Madrid because of their attacking threat, but will also need to have an extra attacking urgency in our game.
‘The fans will help, the atmosphere will help but also our job in the meantime is to prepare the team as well as we can to turn the game around, but we have 90 minutes to try do it.’