A comfortable home win was just the tonic ahead of our decisive Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain tomorrow, according to Frank Lampard.
The midfielder was back in the starting 11 on Saturday and celebrated by converting the rebound from his own saved penalty 15 minutes into the second half. It was Lampard’s eighth of the season but more notably the 250th of his club career, a figure that also includes goals scored for Swansea and West Ham. Lampard explained why the routine nature of the victory, our 15th in 17 league games at Stamford Bridge this season, was so welcome.
‘Stoke can mess your game up, they’re physical, so it was a difficult game to approach for us,’ he said.
‘We were disappointed with two losses on the bounce and so were the crowd but they were great and they stuck with us. We started pretty slowly but we quickly got into the game. It was one of those games where to just get a nice, comfortable result was great for us. We can go away now and freshen up for Tuesday.’
In contrast to the round of 16 tie with Galatasaray when three weeks separated the two legs, we host PSG just six days after the disappointing 3-1 defeat in the French capital. With a weekend game in between to consider preparation for tomorrow’s deciding leg will be limited, but for Lampard the task required – overhauling a two-goal deficit – is eminently achievable.
‘We have to be positive and we have to try and win the game. At the same time we have to try to keep our heads. With the squad we’ve got and the players we’ve got we can the game by two goals, for sure, but we can’t be too gung-ho. It’s about finding the right balance on the night.
‘We’ve been disappointed since the first game and there’s not been so much focus on what we will do on Tuesday night because of the Stoke game but we’ll look it at. I think that is when you trust the manager. He is very strong in these situations.
‘The problem with Champions League football is that you can’t settle for having good periods in the game like we did the other night. The quality levels are so high that in little moments you can end up losing the game.
‘That was the disappointing thing about Paris but we’ve got the ability and we’ve got the desire. We have to have confidence in ourselves and go and try and turn it around.’