Lampard backs Chelsea after humbling UCL exit

Frank Lampard vowed Chelsea “will be back” as a major force after their Champions League quarterfinal exit leaves them facing the prospect of a season without any European football.

The Blues were beaten 2-0 by Real Madrid at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night to complete a 4-0 aggregate defeat as Rodrygo struck twice in the final 32 minutes to setup a semifinal tie with either Manchester City or Bayern Munich.

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“The motivation has to be playing for Chelsea,” Lampard said. “There are some players who are maybe quite new here, they are getting used to the club and that isn’t easy.

“Sometimes we’ve seen some of the greatest players in the Premier League when they first arrive, they need some time. Sometimes they go into teams that are flying and they get put in, they find their feet and you see them fly.

“So maybe there are reasons with some of our players where there is a bit of transition. But in terms of motivation, you are playing for Chelsea. There are individual motivations all throughout the squad and as a collective and we have to be competitive in everything we do every day.”

Chelsea have seven Premier League games remaining starting with next Wednesday’s home match against Brentford, but face an uphill task to reach Europe’s third tier competition, the Europa Conference League, given they currently sit in 11th place.

Now caretaker boss Lampard must try to rally his players for the final few weeks of the season after the club lost four consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time since November 1993.

“To get into the team, you have to show it. I picked a team today which was the most form team individually, the fittest team in terms of what this game was going to ask of us. And they showed it, they showed they can compete with Real Madrid for sure other than the final third stuff [finishing chances].

“It is important to take each step. The next step now for the players is day off tomorrow, back to work Thursday. Get working towards Brentford, because people will make a lot about this season for Chelsea because they’ve had so much success.

“The reality is this club is going to be back. It’ll take work. It’ll take maybe a bit of process. I think the fans appreciated the performance today and maybe this season they have had moments where they haven’t felt like that.

“We have to latch onto that, get results until the end of the season and then go again next year.”

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