Lampard prepared for testing week with Chelsea

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard is ready for a testing week, as the Blues’ marathon season reaches its crunch point.

Sunday’s comfortable 2-0 victory over Swansea at Stamford Bridge put Rafael Benitez’s side back into third spot, and into pole position to clinch one of the remaining two spots on offer for Champions League qualification next season.

Lampard scored in that match, and he prefers pressure games to dead rubbers at the end of the season. As quoted in the Daily Mirror, the England midfielder said: “I think it’s good for us that we’re playing games that matter. When you’re at a club like Chelsea you’re used to pressure games and you feed off them.

I would rather be challenging for the title in the last few games than playing for the top four, of course, but it’s so important for the club to be in the Champions League and we all know that. We have to do what it takes to make it happen.

Chelsea host Swiss side FC Basel in the Europa League semi-final second leg on Thursday night, holding a 2-1 advantage thanks to a late David Luiz goal in Switzerland last week.

After that encounter, there is a fifth meeting of the season with Manchester United on Sunday for Premier League points, followed by a potential Champions League play-off with London rivals Tottenham the following Wednesday.

Benitez’s side then travel to an ever-improving Aston Villa outfit on the penultimate weekend, with a possible European final in Amsterdam sandwiched in-between the Villa Park excursion and a final day battle with Everton at home.

Lampard added: “You could say the United game next week will be the pivotal one but I think the Tottenham game will be more, probably. I think it will go to the wire but if we get the right results against United and Tottenham we’ll put ourselves in a healthy position.

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