Frank Lampard has claimed he has no concerns over being labelled the ‘underdogs’ ahead of UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie against Bayern Munich.
Chelsea face the five-time European champions for the first time since the 2012 final. The Blues were underdogs that night and have been once again written off.
The Blues manager insisted that 'everyone loves an underdog’ story before insisting his side must play to their ‘maximum’ capabilities.
‘We all love an underdog story’
Lampard famously captained Chelsea to the Champions League title at the Allianz Arena in 2012 having gone into the final underdogs.
Eight years on and the Blues all-time top goal scorer will lead the South West London club from the side-lines rather than the heart of midfield.
Lampard has said he would love to create memories but was also conscious about the threat Bayern pose.
“We all love an underdog story,” began Lampard. “They are some of the best stories in sport. I am focused on what it is going to take to win these two matches [against Bayern].
“My job is to look at the opponent and see if we can find weaknesses there. I understand if people call us the underdog because the Bayern team is so strong and they have so much experience, but the underdog is there to change things around.
“A big part of my job tomorrow is to explain to the players that over two legs we need to be at our maximum. We need every detail, every box ticked in both games.
“Bayern Munich are an incredible side with the ball. If we have to suffer without the ball we have to suffer, so that’s our job over these next two games.”
‘We must be at our best’
The 41-year-old manager continued by vowing his side must be at their best and ensure that they take their chances in front of goal before hailing opposition striker Robert Lewandoski.
“We will have to be at our best,” Lampard continued. “There have been games this year when we have been good, we travelled to Ajax and had a fantastic game off the ball, and in the league this year as well, but when you get to the knockout stage of the Champions League against a team as good as Bayern Munich, the levels have to go up everywhere.
“This is a two-legged game versus a strong team, and in the Champions League your concentration levels have to be top in both games.
“[Lewandoski’s] goalscoring record and everything about him from a distance is top class. So of course, he is going to be a huge threat. He is not the only one, but he is the spearhead.”
Upmost confidence in youth
The Blues manager concluded his press conference declaring his continued confidence in his young players ahead of a high-stakes fixture.
Lampard has nurtured many young talents into the first team thus far this season including Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount, Reece James and Tammy Abraham.
He concluded: “I’ve got no doubts about starting any of the young players,’ Lampard added. ‘I trust in all the players who have been part of the squad this year.
“They’ve earned trust in the way they’ve played. It changes slightly when it gets to the knockout stages and I’ll speak to all the players about what that means.”