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Lanpard wants to silence critics
Frank Lampard has urged Chelsea to deliver the ultimate response to their critics by clinching their place in next season's Champions League before winning it in Munich.
The 3-2 aggregate win against Barcelona got caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo's Blues 90 minutes from Champions League glory. His priority has been Champions League football next season. Now four points off the last qualification spot with four games remaining, Chelsea are closer to getting there via the competition than the Barclays Premier League.
Lampard said: "By the time of the game, that'll be too late. So, if we don't win it and we're not fourth... We're on a decent run of performances for sure, but the last thing we want to do now is lower our standards in between. We need to keep this roll going."
Veteran stars Lampard and Didier Drogba looked certain to be jettisoned this summer before Andre Villas-Boas was sacked as manager just over seven weeks ago.
But both have made a mockery of claims they were on their last legs and are set to play a crucial role in Chelsea's pursuit of their holy grail.
Lampard said: "We've got everything to show. That's what makes us top players, that what makes Didier Drogba a top player. He gets written off, comes back and scores goals that get us to this point, and I feel the same.
"I try to do everything to always prove (myself) and I'm very proud of what I've done in my career. I don't feel like I'm on my last legs, regardless, and I'll keep trying to show that every game."
That will not be easy amid a punishing schedule that will continue to see the club play twice a week until the end of the season.
Lampard said: "People probably watched us two or three weeks ago against Wigan and Fulham and thought maybe we were on our last legs then a little bit. But you can't knock this team down - we'll keep coming back."
Tuesday night was the perfect demonstration of that, Chelsea somehow recovering from falling 2-0 and a man down at the Nou Camp to draw 2-2.