Lampard calls for focus and discipline from Chelsea in Champions League clash with Barcelona

The 33-year-old believes the competition is becoming harder every year, and revealed he would be happy to finish career at Stamford Bridge having once snubbed a move to Catalunya
Frank Lampard believes focus and discipline will be key for Chelsea when they meet Barcelona in their Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday.

England international, Lampard concedes will his side have to be at their best if they are to knock out the holders, and feels that denying the Spanish side the space needed to put their passing game into action is essential.

He told reporters: "It [pressing game] is imperative. It’s down to us to organise the game, there’s no way you can be passive.

"We have to try and close down space. We’ll have our game plan. Any team at this stage will have a plan on how to win games. We’re under no illusions.

"You must stay very focused with players with the ability of Xavi, Messi, Iniesta - I could go through the whole team. We have to press in all areas of the pitch."

Chelsea have been on the wrong end of disciplinary problems in recent matches with Pep Guardiola’s side, and Lampard stressed the importance of keeping a full contingent of players on the pitch on Wednesday night.

"Discipline is a huge factor at this level. I know from experience to play a man down against Barca is very tough," he said.

"There’s a fine line – we have to tackle, close down space but I think we gave a good discipline, a good record against Barca. We have to play to our strengths to try and win, and keeping 11 players on the pitch is absolutely crucial."

Chelsea were denied a victory over Barca three years ago by Andres Iniesta’s injury-time strike, after the Blues had been denied a series of strong penalty shouts during the game.

That defeat came just a year after they suffered the heartbreak of a penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester United in the 2008 final in Moscow, when captain John Terry slipped and missed a crucial spot-kick.

Lampard, who scored in the defeat to Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, refuted the idea it will inevitably be Chelsea’s lucky day in the competition, adding that it makes him more determined than ever to win a trophy which is becoming increasingly competetive.

"Nothing’s inevitable," he continued. "It makes you more determined when you get that bit older, as a team you appreciate it more and you want it more. It makes you more excited about the game.

"It’s the greatest competition in club football, it gets harder every year with the development of the teams from Spain, England, Germany and Italy. No one has a divine right to win it.

"Some of my worst moments in football have been losing semi-finals, the Barca game more than any because of the circumstances.

"We have to take the failure and bounce back, and we’re hoping the Champions League will one day come to us and we’ll win it."

Lionel Messi has never scored against the Blues but Lampard is under no illusions as to the importance of stifling Barca’s No. 10, with the Argentine having set a new record in the competition with 14 goals so far this season.

"Every time you turn the TV on he scores a goal as standard," he said. "It's good he hasn’t scored against us.

"With Messi, statistics and history goes out the window. With the ability he's got we have to be at our best. He's proved to be the most dangerous player in world football."

Lampard was linked with a move to Camp Nou earlier in his career before he opted to commit his future to Stamford Bridge and the former West Ham man insisted he would be happy to end his career with Chelsea.

"I have no regrets," he added. "Some players go abroad to experience different cultures, Fabregas went home and he’s slipped into the Barca team as you’d expect.

"I’m very proud to be at Chelsea for my 12th season, I’d love to end my career here."

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