England go into their midweek World Cup qualifying fixture against Ukraine full of confidence after their 4-0 mauling of Slovakia at Wembley Stadium on Saturday. Frank Lampard was one of the scorers as he slid a strike into the net from a tight angle.
Ukraine, like England, are undefeated in their qualifying campaign and Lampard today told journalists of the importance of the Three Lions squad staying completely focussed on the task ahead.
The striking threat of Andriy Shevchenko was also mooted. Despite being considered a mega-money flop due to his time spent at Chelsea, the veteran striker can still pose the English numerable dangers on Wednesday, according to the player's former team-mate, Lampard.
Regarding the manner of the thrilling victory last weekend, Lampard told journalists assembled at a pre-match press conference, "We tried hard last week and put in a good performance on Saturday, which was a good confidence boost. We're getting results [now], long may that continue.
"We need to carry on and turn Wembley into a fortress. It wasn't a perfect performance, and I'm sure Ukraine will be stronger than Slovakia. The main thing is to just try and win the game."
When pressed as to why Ukraine striker Shevchenko consistently underwhelming during his temporary tenure spearheading the front line for Lampard's club side, Chelsea, the midfielder said he was at a loss to explain the phenomenon.
"Shevchenko is obviously a fantastic player and he will be a huge threat, whether he will score or make an assist," he added. "I don't know why he did not work [at Stamford Bridge]. Injuries maybe, settling in difficulties too."
On the nation's own striking options, Lampard said it was a concern that England would be without Emile Heskey and Carlton Cole, however, he stated that Peter Crouch may be available.
"It's a slight worry but hopefully Crouch will be fit and [Darren] Bent has been called in,” he said. “Our squad is strong enough to cope.
"The group is fairly tough. Croatia and Belarus will be tough games. There are a few hard games coming up. But if we get a good result on Wednesday then we will continue to make things easy for ourselves."
Focus remains the key word for Fabio Capello's men.
"The moment we turned up to training we've always been focussed,” ‘Lamps’ continued. “It's about getting your legs and your mind ready. Tomorrow we'll train and get our heads more on the game."
On his own personal tactical shift when representing his country, compared to the role asked of him at Chelsea, Lampard remarked, "My instincts are to get forward but as an international player you have to be ready to change positions and stay disciplined.
"It doesn't matter who the individual is in each position, but how the team performs as a unit. We saw that at Germany, and tried again against Slovakia."
Finally, Lampard mentioned a possible reason behind Michael Owen's omission from the England camp.
"Everyone has a view as to who should be in the England squad, but the manager will pick players who are fit and are on form," he asserted.
Alan Dawson, Goal.com