In his 13-year Chelsea (playing) career, Frank Lampard won 13 trophies, 11 of which were what we’d consider major trophies (3 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, and 1 each of the Champions League and the Europa League). The two Community Shields were nice as well, but celebrating those too much is akin to celebrating fourth place too much. And we don’t do that.
So, given the chance to earn his first trophy in his hopefully just as long Chelsea managerial career, Lampard undoubtedly wants to win. That shouldn’t even be a question.
“I’ve heard how there’s more on this game for Arsenal, and that idea worries me. We must put ourselves under pressure. This is a huge game for Chelsea.”
It’s a huge game for Chelsea by default. It’s a trophy; we must have it. But it’s also a huge game for Lampard as manager. Perhaps even huger. It took Lampard several years to overcome accusations of nepotism and unfair advantage at the start of his playing career, and now he’s having to do the same as a manager. Winning this would certainly help keep the bulletproof good vibes of his first 12 months in charge going as well.
But he also realizes that it’s not he himself who’s going to be out there playing at Wembley this time around. The task at hand is now significantly harder and more complicated. He has to convince 11+ players, many of them young and many (most?) perhaps not nearly as driven as Lampard once was as a player (and in fairness, few were as driven then, or now).
“I’ve been in this game a fairly short time but I’ve played for many years and I know what I want the feeling to be around a final. It needs to be pressured; we need to be on edge. We cannot cruise into a final. You lose them that way.
“The feeling of losing as a manager is worse than as a player because you take on more responsibility — but the feeling of winning is better.”
-Frank Lampard; source: BBC
Lampard thrived under pressure, both from himself and his coaches (and the media), but he cannot apply the same sort of motivational techniques to all his players. He has to find the right balance. Too much pressure, and the team will crumble. Not enough pressure, and we won’t turn up. We’ve seen both happen many times this season already.
“I also don’t want to heap too much pressure on. Most of the players who have been part of it this year have played in big Champions League games, and in critical FA Cup games that have got us here, against Liverpool and Manchester United and Leicester. They have experiences of playing in big, high-level games, so there might be the odd word but I just want them to perform as they train, as they performed pretty regularly this season because if they can find those sort of standards then we have a really good chance to win.
“Of course to win would be a boost, but the experience of a cup final for young players is an experience anyway. It is certainly the case with young players that you can improve the more finals you play, not everyone is fortunate to play so many [as Lampard did] but they do have a different feel to them. There is an extra pressure and a necessity to win and that can change the face of the game and the focus on the small details, so it will be a great experience for our players whatever.
“Of course we want to win.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
So, no pressure. But definitely lots of pressure.