April 22, 2021

‘What I have for David is a real respect’ – Chelsea boss Lampard not targeting Luiz as Arsenal weak link

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The Brazilian defender played at Stamford Bridge alongside the Blues manager, who says the centre-back is a player to be admired

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard knows the quality of David Luiz and will not be targeting the centre-back as an Arsenal weakness in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

Brazil centre-back David Luiz found his Gunners future under scrutiny after a poor display in a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City when the Premier League restarted in June, a match in which he was sent off.

The experienced defender returned to play a crucial role as Arsenal enjoyed a more consistent run of form, earning a one-year contract extension and shining against City in the FA Cup semi-final triumph.

David Luiz had two spells at Stamford Bridge, in the first of which he played alongside Lampard, who said he was instrumental in the Blues’ Champions League and FA Cup double in the 2011-12 campaign.

“I certainly haven’t [targeted him as a weak point],” Lampard told an online media conference. “What I have for David is a real respect, he was a top player in our 2012 campaign, David was a top player within that.

“We’re preparing for Arsenal with him in a team, I know how good he can be and I know what a big player he can be for Arsenal.”

Lampard lifted the FA Cup four times as a player and can claim silverware in his first campaign as Chelsea boss and just his second in management.

“Obviously I would be delighted to and if you get to a final you want to win it,” he said when asked what it would mean to win the trophy as a manager. “It will be difficult, there is many a great manager who hasn’t won things, but now we are here I want to win it.”

The showpiece at Wembley will be played without supporters allowed to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic. Lampard concedes it will be odd to play a final in such circumstances, while adding he is determined for his pre-match message not to put too much pressure on his team.

“It will be strange to have no fans. We are getting used to it. We want fans back, but we have to respect the current circumstances,” he added. “The fact we are used to it means you can focus on what’s in front. If you do win then the FA Cup title stays with you forever.

“I probably will [give the players a special message], but I haven’t done so far. I don’t want to heap too much pressure on. Most of the players have played in critical games before, they have experiences of high-level games. I just want them to perform like they have at times this season.”