Lampard: It's all about trophies
Frank Lampard says Chelsea's resurgence under Roberto Di Matteo will mean nothing if they lose both the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
Caretaker manager Di Matteo could hardly have masterminded a more incredible turnaround in the Blues' fortunes since being handed the reins exactly two months ago.
Chelsea were given a reality check on Wednesday night when they lost to Newcastle to all but end their hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four.
And midfielder Lampard issued another on Friday ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final against Liverpool.
"Normally, we'd be fighting in the league right until the end," he said.
"Now we're not, the cups are obviously more important.
"We're very much of the understanding that if we get to two finals and lose them, we still end up in the same boat as if you'd lost earlier on in the rounds.
"So it's very important now and a critical part."
Lampard, 33, admitted running out at Wembley on Saturday would feel much sweeter considering the depths to which Chelsea sunk during the death throes of Andre Villas-Boas' doomed reign.
"With time, you realise football's not always an easy run throughout a whole season - far from it," said Lampard, whose fractious relationship with Villas-Boas arguably played a part in the Portuguese's sacking.
"Maybe it's enjoyable that we're stepping out there when we didn't expect to.
"But, at the same time, it's a final, I've been there before and the only thing important about finals is trying to win them."
Lampard looked certain to be forced out of Stamford Bridge this summer if Villas-Boas was still at the club, along with fellow veteran Didier Drogba.
Both have been a revelation under Di Matteo and Lampard said: "Individually, and as a team, we have belief in ourselves and we want to play a big part.
"Didier's come back into the team, I've come back into the team more regularly, and I just want to play a big part and try to contribute.
"Age, for me, is no factor."
Lampard and Drogba also have the Champions League final to look forward to against Bayern Munich in two weeks' time, unlike four of their team-mates, who will be suspended.
Lampard expected John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles to be extra-motivated on Saturday as a result.
"If they can't take part in one then they're going to throw everything into this one," he said. "It's very much a case of taking each final as it comes.
"It's a cliched way of doing it but you can't look ahead of yourself with a game as big as it is tomorrow.
"All of us, playing against Munich or not, have to concentrate on tomorrow."
Saturday's game renews a fierce cup rivalry that dates back to Jose Mourinho's time in charge of Chelsea.
Lampard said: "We had a section of years where we played in the Champions League a lot and League Cups and everything.
"That did kind of grew a rivalry between the players and the fans.
"I just think they're full-blooded and I'm sure the final will be the same."
He added: "I think it evened itself out in the end in terms of the Champions League.
"They seemed to get the better of us in the beginning and then we had a couple of games where we got the better of them.
"Liverpool are very much a team that never give in and go to the end.
"That's why tomorrow, it'll be important for the whole 90 minutes to switch on."