Chelsea boss Lampard given FA Cup final boost with return of Kante and Willian
Chelsea’s influential duo N’Golo Kante and Willian have recovered from injuries and are back in contention for Saturday’s FA Cup final against Arsenal, manager Frank Lampard said as he looks to win his first trophy as a manager.
Kante has missed Chelsea’s last six matches in all competitions due to a hamstring injury while Willian sat out their crucial Premier League win over Wolverhampton Wanderers that ensured the club qualified for the Champions League.
“Kante and Willian are in the squad and we will see if they are fit enough to be involved in the starting 11,” Lampard, who took charge of Chelsea in July last year, told reporters in a virtual news conference on Friday.
The result arguably means more to Arsenal, who need to win to qualify for the Europa League, but Lampard said Chelsea would not take their foot off the gas having already sealed Champions League qualification.
“We have to make sure we are not negatively affected by having qualified for the Champions League,” added Lampard, who won the FA Cup four times as a player.
“It doesn’t affect preparations, we still want to win it. A trophy like this stays with you for life and you’re quickly forgotten if you’re a losing finalist.
“If you get to a final you want to win it. It will be difficult, many a great manager haven’t won things but now we are here, I want to win it.”
Lampard will be pitted against another young manager in Mikel Arteta -- whose Arsenal side beat Manchester City to reach the final -- and the Chelsea boss said he was impressed with what the Spaniard had achieved in a short time.
“I wasn’t surprised that they won (the semi-final),” Lampard said. “Man City were probably most people’s favourites... But I knew with the talent and the coach that they have that they could win the game.
“Arteta has done a really, really good job... I have got big respect for what he’s doing.”