Frank Lampard has revealed how much the “magic” and the emotion of Champions League nights mean to him.
The Chelsea manager admitted how proud he will be to see his team run out in the competition for the first time under his command against Valencia on Tuesday night in their opening Group H game.
And Lampard, who won the competition with Chelsea as a player in 2012, still clearly feels the emotion of the famous night when his extra time penalty in the 2008 semi-final against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge helped send his side through to the final that year – just days after his mother Pat had died but before her funeral.
Lampard raised his arms to the heavens in celebration that night after scoring, and kissed his black armband.
His voice wavering on Monday night, Lampard said: “Without a doubt that was the most emotional moment.
“A very emotional night on a personal level. I didn’t need an extra bond with the Chelsea supporters and the club, but what happened on that night and with the fans in the stadium, on such a huge game for the club, it is something that kicked on everything about how I feel about this club.
“That is the magic of the Champions League.
“I will be proud to see my team run out in this competition. I had multiple incredible nights in the Champions League, and some bad ones. It is the ultimate in club football.
“There is something about nights at Stamford Bridge, about the Champions League music – and I want to experience it on this side of the fence.”
But Lampard will warn some of his younger players, like Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount, that they will have to step up their game in club football’s ultimate competition.
He said: “It is different. The main thing I noticed as a player was that your concentration levels and focus have to be absolutely spot on.
“The higher level of player in the Champions League and different style can sometimes surprise you. But I have belief in my players.”