June 18, 2021

Lampard sends ‘cut-throat’ warning to Chelsea stars ahead of Champions League opener

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The Blues boss hopes he has the experience on his books at Stamford Bridge to handle the demands of a gruelling continental campaign

Frank Lampard has sounded a “cut-throat” warning to his Chelsea squad, with the Blues preparing to open their 2020-21 Champions League campaign.

Sevilla are due to pay a visit to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, with continental action returning to west London.

Lampard led his side to the last 16 last season, where they ran into eventual winners Bayern Munich.

Important lessons were taken from that two-legged tie, with the Premier League heavyweights considered to be in a stronger position to challenge this term.

Big money was invested in an already star-studded squad over the summer, while vital experience has been picked up by those that are still relatively inexperienced at the very highest level.

Lampard believes those qualities will serve his side well, but admits that all of those at his disposal – old and young – need to appreciate just how tough European competition can be.

A man who lifted the most prestigious of prizes as a player back in 2012, told the Blues’ official website: “The players that were here last year, and talking about the young players particularly in the Bayern Munich games because of the strong opposition, it would have been a learning curve for them.

“That’s the Champions League; it’s the top club competition in world football. They will be better for it; they will want to improve this year in that. We will see how much they have learned.

“Of the players we have brought in, some have more Champions League experience than others.

“We generally have younger players so it’s important we try and make sure we learn any lessons as we go because the Champions League is so cut-throat.

“You have to have absolute focus because of the level of teams you’re playing, and particularly as we start against Sevilla.”

Thiago Silva, who reached the 2020 Champions League final with Paris Saint-Germain, is among those to have been drafted in by Chelsea, while Timo Werner helped to fire RB Leipzig to the latter stages last season.

Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech have also graced the competition in the past, with Bayer Leverkusen and Ajax respectively, as has former Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell.

That all bodes well for the Blues, but Lampard does still have a number of issues to address before dreams of European glory can be formed, with his side continuing to leak an alarming number of goals.