Frank Lampard has urged Chelsea to embrace the underdog spirit and subdue Bayern Munich at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues head coach accepts many have installed Bayern as firm favourites for Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg tie in west London.
But the former England midfielder still holds faith in his young charges, even despite Bayern’s strong form and their 7-2 demolition of Tottenham in London in October.
“I think the underdog talk for a game like this is better to come from outside, from people looking out to in,” Lampard said.
“My job is just to prepare the game, look at the opponent and see if we can find weaknesses there. I understand if people do call us the underdog because their team is so strong and they have so much experience.
“But these things change. The underdog is there to change things around. We all love an underdog story and they are some of the best stories in sport.”
Lampard won the Champions League when Chelsea edged out Bayern on penalties in 2012, and knows just how tough it is to take on the German giants.
The 41-year-old will address his squad specifically about the hike in pressure and quality that comes with top-level knockout football in European competition.
“I’ve got no doubts about starting any of the young players, I trust in all the players who have been part of the squad this year,” Lampard said.
“They’ve earned trust in the way they’ve played. It changes slightly when it gets to the knockout stages and I’ll speak to all the players about what that means.”
Chelsea will be without injured trio Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and N’Golo Kante on Tuesday, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be in the match squad.
Loftus-Cheek was an unused replacement in Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League win over Spurs for his first involvement of the campaign, and is accelerating his recovery after a long-term Achilles injury.
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“We’ve got players with Champions League experience in the squad but we’ve also got young players at the first stages of their careers,” Lampard said.
“A big part of my job (on Tuesday) is to explain to the players that over two legs we need to be at our maximum. We need every detail, every box ticked in both games.
“Bayern Munich are an incredible side with the ball. If we have to suffer without the ball, we have to suffer, so that’s our job over these next two games.
“Bayern are for sure a team that can win the title, when you go through their team and look at the talent and unity within it.”