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No unfair edge for Chelsea: Lampard



Equal footing: Frank Lampard says United are wrong to raise schedule

Equal footing: Frank Lampard says United are wrong to raise schedule

Equal footing: Frank Lampard says United are wrong to raise schedule

Frank Lampard has rejected Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's claims that Chelsea boast an unfair advantage in tomorrow's FA Cup semi-final.

Chelsea slipped up 3-0 at Sheffield United last Saturday, but then beat Norwich at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, leaving five days until tomorrow's last-four Wembley battle.

United drew 2-2 with Southampton at Old Trafford on Monday, then won 2-0 at Crystal Palace on Thursday night.

Despite United having just three days' preparation, Blues boss Lampard has dismissed the idea the west Londoners have an extra edge.

Asked if Chelsea do have an advantage this weekend, Lampard replied: "No, I don't think we do. I think we've played Saturday and Tuesday this week, they've played on Monday and Thursday, so we've both played two games in this week as it stands.

"We're in a period where we're playing games all the time very regularly, and you become 'play, recover, play again, recover', and you work with the squad as it is.

"It's an age-old question a lot of managers, you'll probably dig out the times when I've mentioned it, but at the same time it isn't about an advantage or not.

"Sometimes it works in your favour to be playing regularly and ticking over, so, no, I don't see it."

Chelsea must do without France's World Cup winner N'Golo Kante against the Red Devils tomorrow.

The former Leicester star remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, leaving Jorginho in the frame to sit at the base of the midfield again.

Lampard admitted he expects a strong examination of Chelsea's qualities this weekend, heaping the praise on United's in-form forward trio of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.

"We know they are playing well, they've got a very, very potent front three; probably the most potent front three in the country, in terms of pure numbers anyway, in terms of goals," said Lampard.

"And obviously (Bruno) Fernandes has made a huge difference coming in in January.

"So you see the strength he has brought to their team with individual quality.

"But we know that. So we have to be confident ourselves, deal with their threats, and worry about us as well."

Ajax recruit Hakim Ziyech is already training with Chelsea's senior squad despite not being eligible for selection until next season.

Chelsea have already completed high-profile deals for both the Morocco winger and RB Leipzig's Timo Werner, and are expected to continue reshaping the squad with more signings this summer.

But when quizzed on whether Chelsea could be primed to spend big this summer, Lampard kept his cards close to his chest.

Asked if the Blues could be ready to embark on a recruitment drive to rival the overhaul of owner Roman Abramovich's first summer at the Stamford Bridge helm, Lampard said: "We'll see. I can't answer that one as we're not there yet.

"We have to focus on what's in front of us.

"I wouldn't want to compare it to any other spending summer or not. We'll see how I feel and we feel as a club.

"If the squad needs strengthening or the balancing needs changing, if it does and we make moves great, but at the moment we don't know."

• Former Manchester United forward and Busby Babe Alex Dawson has died.

Dawson, who also played for Preston, Bury and Brighton, before a loan spell at Brentford, was 80.

A United statement read: "Our deepest sympathies are with the loved ones of former United forward and Busby Babe, Alex Dawson, who has sadly passed away at the age of 80. He will be fondly remembered by all of us at the club. May he rest in peace."

Dawson, a trainee under Matt Busby in the mid-1950s, scored on his debut for the Old Trafford club as a 17-year-old in a 2-0 win over Burnley in 1957.

He featured more regularly after the Munich Air Disaster the following year, when 23 people lost their lives.

Dawson netted in the first game after the crash, a 3-0 home FA Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday.

Man United vs Chelsea

FA Cup semi-final:

Wembley Stadium, Tomorrow, 6.00pm

Belfast Telegraph