'As you get older, you wonder if we'll ever win this Cup'

Lampard 'determined' to secure European glory after repeated disappointments

Collective desire can often make the difference between victory and defeat. In key moments of an epic contest, it can sometimes come down to a simple question of who wants it more.

As Chelsea prepare themselves to face Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final tomorrow, the desire among some of the club's seasoned professionals to reach the final in Rome on 27 May should not be underestimated.

For the last five years, ever since Roman Abramovich started throwing his roubles at the club, Chelsea have earned the unwanted reputation of being Europe's nearly men.

The Russian made it clear the Champions League is the prize he craves above all others yet, frustratingly for a man who has grown used to getting what he wants, it has proved to be out of reach.

Chelsea have lost three semi-finals and a final since 2004, an amazing record of European consistency, but one they would undoubtedly swap for a year of actually winning it. That record has become a bug bear for Chelsea's senior players, who accept they must shrug off the years of failure and deliver the prize.

John Terry, Joe Cole and Frank Lampard are the club's only survivors from the team that drew 2-2 at home in the Champions League semi-final to Monaco exactly five years ago today, to lose 5-3 on aggregate. Lampard admitted the seasons of disappointment had taken their toll.

The 30-year-old midfielder said: "I know what people mean when they say we're cursed in Europe because the more years it comes and you get very close but it doesn't quite happen, the more you start to think, 'Will I ever get there?'

"We all start to get a little bit older and there's a real mixture of emotions. You don't get it all the time but in the big games like Liverpool and Barcelona, when you know this is the time when you could be going out, is when it really kicks in. Hopefully, this time we will have it again and use it to push us on again.

"There's definitely a source of determination because we're all professionals and all playing at a club that craves success and wants success, and you need that as players. We've basically achieved everything else domestically, so Europe is the one that is always hanging over us."

The arrival of Guus Hiddink as temporary manager in February marked a swift revival in Chelsea's fortunes, and there is a belief in the club that the veteran Dutch manager could be the difference this year in Europe. Hiddink led PSV Eindhoven to the old European Cup in 1988, beating Benfica 6-5 on penalties in Stuttgart.

Lampard said Hiddink's influence had been quiet and under-stated, in contrast to the man whose egotistical shadow is still cast over the club, Jose Mourinho.

"Mourinho has always been the stand-out manager for me and he goes about things in a slightly different way to Hiddink," Lampard said. "But they are both completely top. I've never seen anybody approach it as simply as Hiddink does. He knows his stuff. He doesn't over-talk and try to fill your head with 100 tactics. He just says the important things.

"There's certainly been no magic wand, or huge difference. I can't explain anything he [Hiddink] has done that's been a huge change from what we were doing before. That's the beauty of him. He's made subtle changes across the board, subtle tactical changes in certain games, just little subtle things like speak to players in training and getting the best out of players who were injured or getting down."

Chelsea's Champion League calamities

*2004 Semi-finals (lost 5-3 to Monaco): Tinkerman Claudio Ranieri went for broke in Monte Carlo, and lost the plot with some mad substitutions



(lost 1-0 to Liverpool):

Luis Garcia's "ghost goal" on one of Anfield's greatest-ever nights still haunts Jose Mourinho

*2007 Semi-finals

(lost 4-1 on penalties to Liverpool; 1-1 on aggregate): Mourinho moaned Chelsea never got penalties at Anfield, and in the shoot-out they missed two out of three


Final (lost 6-5 on penalties to Manchester United; 1-1 aet): Whoops! John Terry's slip and miss with a penalty to win the cup proved decisive

Mark Fleming

The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?