Chelsea finished the 2019-20 roller coaster of a Premier League season on a high with a top four finish and Champions League football for next season.
Now, it’s time for a realistic shot at a silverware this season, with the FA Cup final against Arsenal tomorrow at Wembley.
And there’s (mostly) good news in terms of injuries, as Lampard will have both Willian and Kanté in the squad. Unfortunately, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is set to miss out on a second consecutive final against Arsenal, following last year’s Europa League final in Baku.
"N’Golo Kante and Willian are in the squad so we’ll see if they’re fit to be in the starting 11. Ruben Loftus-Cheek has a small problem he picked up yesterday so he’s out of the game.
While Chelsea have already qualified for the Champions League next season, Arsenal finished only eighth in the league and thus their hopes of playing in Europe (Europa League) lie in winning this trophy.
This is a similar situation to last season, when their hopes of playing in the Champions League depended on winning the Europa League final. Chelsea killed those hopes with amusing ease.
Lampard would like nothing more than to do so again.
"I’m not sure what pressure it adds in terms of whether it becomes a positive or a negative. That’s their problem as far as I’m concerned and it’s a good problem for them because they can get into Europe via the game.
"We must make sure that our mentality, whether we’ve qualified for the Champions League or not last week, is not affected negatively in any way from that. This is a game that means a lot to us. It means everything to us."
That said, the significance of this final shouldn’t be overstated as far as Chelsea’s overall ambitions are concerned. As fantastic as it would be to win a trophy in Lampard’s first season at the club, it’s only a stepping stone towards our ultimate aims: Premier League and Champions League trophies.
This is a similar message to what Lampard was delivering after we secured fourth place. It’s nice, but it’s not the endgame.
"I don’t quite see it as matter of fact, as I have been asked it quite a lot over the last couple of weeks, probably since we qualified for the final.
"As in, if you win this FA Cup that means all the young players will be experienced and fight for a league title etc.? It is a nice boost, but it matters if you put it in your pocket and continue to work and improve as a club, on the training pitch and as a club moves forward. So I am not trying to play it down, but a good club, top club will compete for titles, league titles pretty much every year.
“We did it for a long time. In the last few years we haven’t been able to fight for that league title. This would not mean all of a sudden we are back and in that picture, but it can be a nice, small, small step when you consider where we want to get to next year."
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
All set for a super Saturday showdown. Let's get the win!