Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes home advantage could be critical in his side’s Carabao Cup fourth-round tie with Manchester United, but is cautious of bettering their out-of-form opponents.
Chelsea thrashed Grimsby 7-1 on Tuesday Wednesday to provide Lampard his initial success at Stamford Bridge since taking charge in July in the club in which he spent the bulk of his playing career.
United, who have won only once in the league since beating Chelsea 4-0 over the opening weekend of this season, struggled to a penalty-shootout victory over League One Rochdale in Old Trafford.
“I was only watching the penalties. It is a big attraction, two significant teams and I’m pleased we are in your home. We are going to see,” Lampard said of this tie, which will occur on the week commencing October 28.
“I think a lot can happen in soccer in a quick time. Tomorrow, the round is not coming. We have to respect the fact that they have great players.
“They beat us 4-0… so I am surely not going to stand here and speak Person United down.
“It is going to be a difficult match, and the attractiveness of that which we did on Wednesday night will make the game seem pretty straightforward.
“But these games could be tough and I would rather, by a distance and having not watched the game, give Rochdale charge for taking them all the way. Man United will deliver a strong team .”
Ross Barkley opened the scoring for Chelsea after only four minutes, until Michy Batshuayi’s brace, Pedro’s punishment, Kurt Zouma, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi finished the rout.
However, the bigger image was Lampard handing debuts to four academy graduates in addition to a very first start for Billy Gilmour.
Gilmour was a stand-out performer in midfield and fellow rookies James and Marc Guehi also impressed, while there was a welcome return for England winger Hudson-Odoi, his first appearance since picking up an Achilles injury in April.
After Lampard delivered on two debutants as substitutes, Tino Anjorin and Ian Maatsen, the Blues finished the night with six academy starlets on the pitch.
“I am pleased some players who haven’t been playing so many minutes playedthere were a few debuts, along with the young lads who arrived on enhanced the group which was fine,” Lampard added.