We must be at our best to stop Messi, admits Chelsea’s Lampard
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard warns his team-mates they must be at their very best to stop Lionel Messi on Wednesday
Frank Lampard has fired a warning at each and every one of his Chelsea team-mates, telling them they must be at the very top of their game to stop Lionel Messi from ending the Blues’ Champions League dream on Wednesday night.
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner has failed to score in six matches against Chelsea but Lampard admits that “statistics go out of the window” when facing Messi on his current form, with the Argentine having already netted 63 goals for club and country this season.
“Every time you turn the TV on he [Messi] scores two goals at the moment,” said Lampard ahead of the semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s good that he hasn’t scored against us. We pride ourselves on being a strong team and when we’ve played Barcelona before I think we’ve caused them difficulties.
“But with Messi, I think statistics and history go out of the window, the way he’s playing.
“It’s solely about us performing in these two games to try and stop him – and with the ability he’s got we have to be at our best. Not just our back four but as a team.
“Individually, he’s proved himself to be the most dangerous player in world football.”
Despite the size of the task ahead of them, Lampard insists Chelsea are full of belief that they can knock out the holders and book a place in the final against either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.
“I think our style of play has been very effective of late,” he continued. “I think we’re mixing a powerful, organised and disciplined game with some very good attacking football and I think on our day we can be a match for anyone.
“Barcelona are not only the in-form team now but [they’ve been] the dominant team in Europe over the last few years. We know we have to be at our best but we believe in ourselves.
“It’s a huge occasion to play a semi-final. We’re playing against the top team in world football. What better challenge as individuals and as a team to take on?
“If we can win that then we have a final, but the players remain as determined as ever to win it.”