Lampard Says Fatigue No Excuse For Busy Chelsea

by
Reuters
Frank Lampard believes fatigue will be no excuse for Chelsea in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City even though his club had to squeeze five games into a punishing 13-day schedule ahead of the tie.

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard believes fatigue will be no excuse for Chelsea in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City even though his club had to squeeze five games into a punishing 13-day schedule ahead of the tie.

The Londoners have almost turned the FA Cup into their own personal property in recent years, lifting the trophy in 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2000 and 1997.

"City will be fresher than us although we've come off the back of qualifying for a semi-final," Lampard told the club's website (www.chelseafc.com), ina reference their 5-4 Europa League aggregate win over Russians Rubin Kazan on Thursday.

"We are all professionals, we are all fit lads and it will be about rest and recovery and preparing. It won't be an excuse going into the game for sure."

Chelsea can look back with pride on a formidable record at Wembley, having won at Sunday's venue on their last 10 FA Cup visits.

Lampard has been a feature in most of those successes but interim manager Rafael Benitez's rotation policy may mean he and skipper John Terry will be on the bench against City after both men played in Thursday's game in Moscow.

"Nobody is an automatic selection because there are lots of games and (Benitez) is changing it regularly," said the England midfielder.

"I've had success at Wembley with England and Chelsea but every game is different. I'm like everyone else, I want to play every game but it is not possible."

PATIENT APPROACH

City are unbeaten in three meetings with Chelsea this term, having won once and drawn once in the Premier League and triumphed in the pre-season Community Shield.

Argentina striker Sergio Aguero, fresh from his spectacular match-winning goal in Monday's 2-1 league victory over Manchester United, said City were expecting a tough test on Sunday.

"I think Chelsea's manager is trying to use a patient approach to open teams up rather than utilise the counter attack," said Aguero. "The team that keeps their head at the crucial moments will win.

"We've had three close games against Chelsea already this season and we expect the same again."

Aguero was an unused substitute when City last played at Wembley in the 2011 Community Shield against United and wants to be in the starting lineup this time.

"Wembley is a major stadium to play football in and a great stage for players to show what they are capable of," he said.

"Even though this is a semi-final ... it feels more like a final because of what is at stake."

Premier League Wigan Athletic take on second-tier Millwall in the other semi-final at Wembley later on Saturday.