Frank Lampard hopes Chelsea’s young squad have learned lessons from last season’s Champions League campaign ahead of their clash with Sevilla.
On their return to Europe’s elite club competition in 2019-20, Chelsea finished second to Valencia in the group stage before losing 7-1 on aggregate to eventual winners Bayern Munich in the last 16.
After conceding a last-gasp equaliser in Saturday’s 3-3 Premier League draw with Southampton, the Blues open their Champions League campaign at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
With Chelsea winning only two of their first five league games and already having been dumped out of the EFL Cup, Lampard’s men could be tested again when they meet Europa League winners Sevilla, but Lampard is relishing the challenge.
“It is a great platform to learn because you are playing against the best, we played against the best in Bayern Munich and it shows you the quality levels,” the Chelsea boss said ahead of the start of their continental campaign, with Rennes and Krasnodar the other teams in Group E.
“We were a young team last year, working a lot to improve, and the Bayern game was a great marker for the young players in the squad to realise the levels that need to be attained. I remember having that myself as a young player.
“Getting through the group was also difficult for us, having lost the first game [against Valencia] – so we had to show a lot of discipline and focus to get through hard matches at Ajax and Lille.
“So hopefully there have been lot of lessons learned from that period.
“I remember the first leg [against Bayern] very well, we didn’t play particularly well in the first half but had opportunities to score. Then in the second half they scored goals very quickly and made the tie difficult for us.”
Chelsea have won only one of their last nine Champions League games against Spanish opposition, while Sevilla have triumphed in each of their last three European games against English sides – two against Manchester United and another victory over Wolves.
Lampard acknowledged their threat, adding: “I mentioned before about concentration, focus and discipline and that becomes even more important here than other competitions because of the level of Champions League.
“That’s what I would always make very clear to the players going into a match against someone of the quality of Sevilla.”
Forward Timo Werner scored his first league goals for Chelsea with a double in the Southampton draw and has some fine Champions League form from his time at RB Leipzig to draw upon.
He has been directly involved in nine goals from his last 11 appearances in the competition, scoring seven times and adding two assists.
Lampard, who will become only the second Englishman to manage in two Champions League campaigns after Bobby Robson, also revealed midfielder Billy Gilmour was moving closer to a first-team return.
The teenager has not played since July due to a bad knee injury.
“Billy’s working really well,” Lampard said. “Three weeks or so from a return, the other side of the next international break all being well.
“He is working with physios but will hopefully integrate in training soon.”