Frank Lampard insisted “the door is open” for Chelsea to reach the Champions League semifinals, but added they will need a “special night” at Stamford Bridge to find a way past Real Madrid.
Madrid took control of their quarterfinal tie on Wednesday as goals from Karim Benzema and substitute Marco Asensio gave Carlo Ancelotti’s side a 2-0 win over the Blues, who played the final half-hour with 10 men following Ben Chilwell’s red card for hauling down Rodrygo.
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Chelsea were fortunate not be on the end of a heavier defeat and Lampard believes the opportunity still exists to reach the last four in Tuesday’s second leg in west London.
“I think it’s a big challenge, of course, against a team with the quality of Real Madrid,” Lampard said. “But the door is open and it’s up to us whether we want to kick it open further next week or not.
“The result is the reality. I’ve just said to the players ‘special things can happen at Stamford Bridge.’ They are a very good team but we have to believe.”
The odds will be heavily stacked against a Chelsea side who have now gone four games without scoring a goal, and Lampard has one week to try and restore some confidence in attack.
Yet Chelsea created enough chances to suggest they can penetrate Madrid’s defence next week, with Joao Felix, Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount all having clear opportunities.
“There is a lot there for us, as good a team as they are,” Lampard said. “There’s a little bit of a lack of belief. I think the players have got to understand how good they are, what they can do. There were opportunities to use the size of the pitch more, to be a bit more aggressive — things we can maybe do next week.
“There was some good in there, with the spirit. The result is a fact, but next week will be a big fight.”
Real manager Carlo Ancelotti, who won the Premier League and FA Cup double as Chelsea boss in 2009-10, agreed that his side still have a lot of work to do.
“It’s not easy being on the bench for a match like this, but I’m very happy,” the Italian said. “We have to stay calm and understand that although we have an advantage, anything can happen in football and we have to manage our lead well.”