Frank Lampard believes Wednesday’s game against Leeds United is the perfect opportunity for us to bounce back from the disappointment of missing out on being crowned world champions.
A 1-0 defeat against Corinthians in Japan saw our hopes of adding the FIFA Club World Cup to our trophy cabinet dashed, but the midfielder, who completed his first full 90 minutes for almost two months against the Brazilians, remained philosophical.
‘You can’t go and win every tournament every year, we’ve never done that, no-one does it,’ said Lampard.
‘We worked very hard to get to the final. We’ve changed the personnel a bit this year and there’s been a bedding-in process, and we’ve changed the manager, so there’s been quite a few circumstances this year.
‘We just have to try to improve and play better, it’s as simple as that.’
The Capital One Cup quarter-final at Elland Road comes at a difficult time, just 48 hours after the players have returned from the Far East.
With both Ramires and John Mikel Obi already missing the game through suspension, Rafael Benitez’s plans were dealt a further blow when Gary Cahill was also ruled out of the game following his sending off against Corinthians.
The manager will almost certainly make changes to the side beaten in Yokohama, and Lampard is adamant that whoever comes in must be prepared to dig deep in what is likely to a testing atmosphere.
‘Win this and we’re in the semi-final, with the possibility of a decent draw, but we’ve got to win the game,’ he explained.
‘It’s tough to go to Elland Road. There’s a rivalry. We’re aware of it and we have to play on the pitch with passion and do the physical side of things up there because they’re going to be right at it. We can’t expect to go up there and tap it around and get a result. We have to do both sides.
‘We have to pick it up for Leeds. We have to go there and stand up and get our form back at home. We got a result against Sunderland before we went out to Japan and its very important that we do our stuff, not just with Leeds, but the Premier League games over Christmas, and keep ourselves right upthere.’
On a personal level, Lampard was understandably pleased to have come through his first full game since the home win over Norwich City unscathed.
His all-round performance was impressive, particularly in the first half, where he picked out Fernando Torres on more than one occasion with wonderful passes, and the 34-year-old, whose influence on the side appears as strong as ever, is looking ahead to another big game tomorrow night in Yorkshire.
‘It was good to get 90 minutes,’ he said. ‘It’s been seven or eight weeks and I felt good. I felt fit enough, I’ve been training hard and I’d be very happy to play at Leeds.’