Lampard up for the cups
Frank Lampard hopes to finish what could be his final season at Chelsea with some silverware.
The Blues face an important week in their hunt for a trophy this term, with Thursday’s first leg of the Europa League last 32 at Sparta Prague followed by a FA Cup fourth-round replay with Brentford on Sunday.
Realistically those are the only trophies last year’s European champions can win this term, as they trail Manchester United by 16 points in the Barclays Premier League.
“At the minute the season hasn’t been successful,” Lampard told Chelsea TV.
“We should be challenging for titles rather than third or fourth, but we’re not. And we’ve not won some cups, we’ve been knocked out.
“We have to grab the fact that there’s a lot of games to play and we have to try to win something.”
There have been contradictory reports over whether Blues owner Roman Abramovich is prepared to offer Lampard a new contract to extend his 12-year stay beyond the end of the season.
Whether he stays or goes, Lampard has continued to perform, with a goal in each of his last four games to move within four of the club’s goalscoring record.
Lampard is happy to continue playing twice a week, because it means Chelsea are in contention for silverware, and he believes regular action has resulted in his rich vein of form.
“It’s not rocket science: the more you play you get sharper and you get match fit,” Lampard added.
“You have to have an eye on the squad – it is a long season – so I’m not expecting, or asking, to play every single game.
“(But) it seems to me recently I’ve been able to play every three or four days, I’ve enjoyed it.”
Blues interim boss Rafael Benitez believes his Chelsea squad – the majority of whom won the Champions League last May – will realise how important the Europa League is when they arrive in Prague on Wednesday.
Benitez admits Thursday night Europa League fixtures will take an adjustment for players used to plying their trade in Europe’s premier club competition.
“We will need some time (to talk),” said Benitez, who replaced Roberto Di Matteo in November after the holders were knocked out of the Champions League.
“In terms of flights and games it’s like the Champions League, in terms of mentality, the first thought is ’hmm, it’s different’.
“But if you see the teams that are in the Europa League, you will see it could be quite difficult.
“The day before we will fly, we will be there, they will realise it’s Europe and they can concentrate 100 per cent. I’m expecting that they will be focused.
“We will have to start thinking of it as a great competition, with good teams and we will try to do our best.”
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