Lampard admits European pressure

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Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard admits the pressure continues to increase on managers at the club to win the Champions League.

The Blues came closest to glory at the top European table back in the 2007/08 season, when a penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester United broke hearts in west London.

A string of managers have all tried and failed during the Roman Abramovich era, including Jose Mourinho, and Lampard admits the owners desire to win the trophy continues to add more pressure on the manager at the club.

"I don't know if it is as cut-and-dried as managers losing their jobs for not winning the Champions League, but I understand where you're coming from - obviously it is something that the owner wants," said the England international midfielder.

"When you've had a lot of domestic success, it's not just the owner but the whole club and the fans, you want that extra step - to win in Europe.

"As a club with what we've achieved in the last six or seven years, it's an obvious thing to say, the one thing that's missing from our cabinet is the Champions League.

"I wouldn't say that's the only reason managers have been sacked, but the pressure is cranked up regardless."

Lampard admits the benchmark has now been set by Spanish giants Barcelona in the competition, and that Andre Villas-Boas' side will have to continue to raise their own level, starting against Bayer Leverkusen this week.

"Barcelona is the model, they are the outstanding team of recent years, but there's no way that Chelsea are that far behind. We have to believe we can compete with the best," he continued.

"We've shown in the past that with our style of play, when we're at our best, we can certainly compete.

"We've been so close in the Champions League and there's been frustration, obviously, as pretty much the same group has stayed for a lot of time. It seems to get tougher every year, because of the quality, particularly in Spain, particularly Barcelona, who have raised the bar.

"I'd like to think we've raised the bar as well. Last season was a disappointment in terms of not winning anything, but I think there's a real freshness about the club."

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