Lampard: Lille clash can be defining occasion for Chelsea youngsters

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard

"So I think it's good, I like the pressure of this game being knockout".

"But you do learn from your players in tough times, not just in terms of what they do on the pitch but how their personality is".

Not that Lampard will take anything for granted after the 4-4 draw with nine-man Ajax last month and the wild 2-2 with Valencia a fortnight ago. Chelsea, who have not won at home in the Champions League since September 2017, have lost three of their last four games in the Premier League and have to react after Saturday's 3-1 defeat by Everton. It is an occasion that calls for composure and Lampard, who is likely to stiffen his back four by starting Antonio Rüdiger for the first time since 14 September, will find out if his players are capable of expressing themselves when the stakes are this high. "And this means going into the next stage of the Champions League".

"It's a big game and they are coming thick and fast".

Chelsea's young-guns have played with fluency and without fear this season, however, the capital club are now in the midst of their first real problematic phase of the season to date - having only won once in their last five matches across all competitions.

"So it's an opportunity for the team, and particularly the young boys, because it's quite new for them. Rudi is just back, so let's see what he can add to us now".

Lampard said his side's poor run had not yet altered his view on January recruitment plans after the club's Federation Internationale de Football Association transfer ban had been lifted.

He was absent for the comfortable win against Bournemouth over the weekend and there has been no update on a potential return date.

Lampard believes Rudiger can make an instant impact, with the 26-year-old's return proving timely as Fikayo Tomori misses out due to a minor hip issue. "I am pleased we're playing". It is good to have him back. He's come through that.

Given that Lille will arrive in London with nothing to lose, I suspect they may have a go at the hosts and given the attacking threat that they will carry, coupled with Lampard's leaky defence, I like the look of the 21/20 (SportingBet) on offer for Lille to score in this game.



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