Chelsea face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday night looking to take an advantage back to London for the second leg.
Frank Lampard‘s side, who lost 1-0 to Wolves on Saturday in the Premier League, head to the Santiago Bernabeu to come up against the current Champions League holders for the first leg of the quarter-final tie.
Saturday’s defeat at Molineux was far from ideal preparation for Lampard, who took charge of his first game since returning on a caretaker basis until the end of the season, and Chelsea will be keen to produce in their biggest game of the season to keep their European hopes alive.
The Chelsea caretaker boss has told his players to be fearless ahead of facing Real Madrid, insisting if you can’t play under pressure then you’re not a player who is equipped for the big nights.
In his pre-match press conference, Lampard said: “There’s pressure on both teams because the size of both clubs. Are Real Madrid favourites? Yes. I understand why. That’s not a problem, that’s fine. There’s nothing better than proving people wrong.
“If you can’t handle the pressure you’re not a big club or a big player. That’s part of the pressure, innit.”
Lampard has several selections decisions to make after he was handed a huge fitness boost with several players returning just in time for the Champions League tie.
So how could Chelsea line-up against Real Madrid?
Possible XI: Kepa, Koulibaly, Silva, Fofana, Chilwell, Fernandez, Kante, Mount, James, Felix, Sterling
Kepa is expected to keep his place in goal, while Lampard could revert to a back three to offer more defensive protected against Real Madrid.
Thiago Silva, Wesley Fofana, N’Golo Kante and Mason Mount are all fit and should they be deemed to be ready to start, the quartet could all be thrown into the starting XI for the crucial clash in Madrid.
“He’s a special player and I understand about consistency, and his difficulty with injuries,” Lampard said on Kante.
“In terms of coming back and playing a high level I’ve witnessed it in the Super Cup final versus Liverpool years ago. He has the capacity to do that.
“When we miss him, we miss him because how good he is.”
Should Lampard opt to pack out the midfield, he could go with two up top. There are plenty of options with Joao Felix, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Raheem Sterling all vying for starts at the Bernabeu.