Football

Frank Lampard wants no excuses in European Super Cup

Chelsea manager says the Blues are desperate to win the European Super Cup

After a chastening debut as Chelsea manager last Sunday, Frank Lampard said he does not want any excuses from his side when they meet Liverpool in the European Super Cup tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Lampard's first competitive match as Blues boss ended in a 4-0 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford, despite Chelsea hitting the woodwork twice and looking the better side for the first 60 minutes.

Things do not get any easier for the 41-year-old, as European champions Liverpool are next up in Istanbul.

Lampard told Uefa's website: "Going up against the team with the quality of Liverpool in a final is as tense as finals can be.

"Every player in there needs to be aware of the importance of the game to this club and we have to give everything, because it's going to be tough.

"It's going to be tough, but we cannot walk off the pitch and think, 'Oh, we could've done that' or 'We missed that opportunity' or 'We weren't quite ready' or make any excuses for ourselves...

"It's a cup that the club desperately wants to win.

"I've never won it, a lot of players in there have never won it, so we have to give it everything.

"You can lose finals; they're very tough.

"But what you cannot do is lose it on the premise that we weren't prepared, or we didn't have that hunger or desire or everything you need to try and win a game of this magnitude."

Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton, meanwhile, highlighted the magnitude of the task facing Lampard, saying he has "one hell of a job on" this season.

He said on BBC Radio: "Frank Lampard has one hell of a job on after the club lost their best player.

"(Eden) Hazard carried them for years, but he's gone and they can't bring players in.

OWNER'S EXPECTATION

"It all comes down to what the owner's expectation is and what Lampard has been told at the start of the season.

"The fans being behind Lampard will only last for so long...

"This is the first season under (Roman) Abramovich that I don't think anybody gives them a chance of winning the title.

"The obvious thing is Lampard needs time, but this is an owner who hasn't given his managers time - if they finish eighth or ninth or 10th, Lampard won't be there next season."

With Kurt Zouma's, in particular, struggles in the heart of the defence at Old Trafford, ex-Blues winger Pat Nevin believes the Super Cup could be vital for his former side to sort out their "defensive understanding".

The Super Cup is an annual match played between the winners of the Champions League and the Europa League.

Nevin said on Chelsea's website: "Last season, it was David Luiz and Antonio Ruediger sitting back there most of the time, particularly for the big games.

"Both of them, for different reasons obviously, were not at Old Trafford. Getting the right partnership back there and building their understanding is not simple, especially in the white heat of the Premier League, but it is vital...

"Odd though it may seem, the game in Istanbul against Liverpool may in time be seen as more important for the building of the defensive understanding than the chance to win another trophy."

Ex-Arsenal forward Ian Wright, however, feels Chelsea's "biggest issue" will be scoring goals rather than keeping them out.

He told the BBC: "There is some naivety in (Tammy) Abraham's play, he has to learn how to hold it up so people can come and support, and he can then turn and get into the box. He's going to have to learn quickly.

"But we can't start judging until the likes of Ruediger and (N'Golo) Kante are back, and they are hoping Christian Pulisic will kick on."

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