Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea have to put the shackles on Alli to reach final: Lampard


By Robert Jones

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard believes his former club must prioritise stopping Dele Alli if they are to beat Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final today.

Much like Manchester United shackled Eden Hazard with the man-marking of Ander Herrera last weekend, Lampard believes one of Chelsea's holding midfielders must do the same to the young Spurs attacker.

"It is a big ask for Chelsea to nullify Alli completely but it will be critical to the outcome of the game," Lampard said.

"For that to happen, it will be down to whoever plays in midfield for Chelsea - potentially N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic - to stop the service into him."

Lampard likened the 21-year-old to himself, suggesting that the timing of his runs into the box is his most valuable skill.

"The reason he is so effective is because knowing what he does is one thing - but stopping him doing it is completely different," he added.

"They will obviously have to deal with (Harry) Kane and what he is doing up top too, but behind him Alli will play a decisive role if the Blues allow him to."

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has attempted to take the pressure off his men.

He said earlier in the week: "I think if there is one favourite it's Chelsea because they are top of the table, because of the experienced players and the manager that they have.

"We are talking about one of the best teams in Europe. But we are in a good moment, too, and we are hungry to challenge."

Spurs have won just two of their last 16 meetings with Chelsea in all competitions.

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