Frank Lampard wary Manchester United will punish Chelsea’s flaws

Frank Lampard admits Chelsea have given too many goals away through unforced individual errors this season and after three defeats against Manchester United already he does not need to be told that Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side approach Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final full of confidence, reports
“We know we will be playing a very good team in great form,” the Chelsea manager said. “Their front three are very potent and behind them Bruno Fernandes has given United a huge boost since joining in January. The way they are playing United have the individual quality to beat almost anyone, so we have to be at our best and make sure we keep our concentration.”
Chelsea have been working hard in training to try to ensure they do not give any goals away cheaply at Wembley. Defensive lapses have been a feature of their season, whether getting caught out too often by swift counterattacks or by making mistakes at crucial moments in big games.
“That has cost us a few points this season,” Lampard said.
“Quite often we have been playing well, feeling in control of a game, when an error at a crucial moment has led to us conceding. That is a pattern that has been a little bit too regular this season, and we are working on how to cut it out.”
Manchester United defeated Chelsea 4-0 in their first game of the Premier League season.
To some extent the FA Cup is a subplot to the real contest between Chelsea and United, the battle for a top-four finish to secure a Champions League place for next season.
Chelsea are third, with United fifth, though there is one point between them and Chelsea must play Liverpool and Wolves in their final two league games. United have a home game at West Ham before a last day showdown at Leicester.
United are on an eight-match unbeaten run since the restart, though Lampard does not feel interrupting that sequence would necessarily affect their league form.
“This is a Cup semi between two big teams, I don’t think it will have much of a bearing on anything else,” he said.
“The last two games are going to come along quite quickly next week. I don’t see either of us giving up on our league ambitions through what happens at Wembley.”
N’Golo Kanté has not recovered in time to play on Sunday, so Lampard has at least one decision to make. Like Solskjær he has been lauded for giving youth its chance this season and he has several options at his disposal. Tradition has it, or at least Sir Alex Ferguson always used to say, that experience is vital in the later rounds of knockout contests, but Lampard says he will go with what he sees on the training pitch.
“I tend not to consider age too much and I think experience can sometimes be overrated,” he said.
“You do need character and personality in the side, but that doesn’t mean you always have to be turning to your senior players. Young players can have those qualities too, it’s just a matter of getting the balance right.”

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