Frank Lampard’s first season as Chelsea manager can only be seen as a massive success, no matter the metric used, but the Blues legend has admitted he is “worried” about his players’ mentality ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup final against Arsenal (12:30 p.m. ET).
After securing a top-four finish and their place Champions League next season, Lampard believes that his players might be a little too satisfied with what they’ve already done, and not focusing enough on the “pressure” of Saturday’s final. Having won more than a few trophies during his playing career at Stamford Bridge, Lampard is uniquely qualified to speak on such matters — quotes from the BBC:
“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 worries me that we as a club, as a team, think we achieved something last week by finishing in the top-four. We are happy with that but that’s gone now. We don’t consider what it means for Arsenal — we want to win the match.
“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.””
Perhaps Lampard’s concerns are genuine based on what he’s seen and/or heard from the players in recent days, or maybe he’s simply using these comments as a way of sending a message and refocusing his players ahead of not only Saturday’s final, but the remainder of their Champions League quest beginning next week. Given the exceedingly youthful and inexperienced nature of his squad, Lampard will undoubtedly find himself with much to do on the man-management side of the job in the coming days.