Sport Soccer

Sunday 25 February 2018

Malouda confident Blues can fulfil Euro 'destiny'

Adrian Curtis

Chelsea winger Florent Malouda insists the Blues are destined to win the Champions League this season because the final is being played at their 'lucky' Wembley Stadium.

Chelsea have won three out of the past four FA Cup finals at the national stadium and their Champions League campaign began in comfortable style with a 4-1 away victory against Group F minnows MSK Zilina Wednesday night.

The France international is confident Chelsea will return to Wembley at the end of the campaign to lift the top prize in European club football.

"It is a sign for us that the Champions League final is being played at Wembley," declared Malouda.

"We have won there a lot in recent years and it's a big objective for the club. Our aim is to be there again in May and to win.

"We love playing there as we have shown by winning three FA Cups in the last four years. Maybe it is our destiny to be there in May.

"That's what I wish and every player in the squad is thinking about that in their minds. We have to be ready to get through the group phase now but we have to be ready for the knockout phase as well."

Chelsea's win over Zilina was a stroll for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

A brace from Nicolas Anelka after Michael Essien's opener put the Blues in command at the interval and Daniel Sturridge made if 4-0 three minutes after the break.

Zilina, to their credit, continued to fight on and Tomas Oravec scored a consolation goal when Petr Cech failed to hold a cross.

Ancelotti was clearly not happy with their second-half performance and Malouda agreed they were "sloppy".

"We controlled the game in the first half but we didn't play at our best level in the second and were a bit sloppy," he added. "We have to be aware we can't afford to play like we did in the second half."

Two-goal hero Anelka has also targeted the Champions League crown. "Even if the final was not at Wembley, we have to be focused," said Anelka.

"Like I always say, we want to win the competition this season and will try our best to do it."

Meanwhile Chelsea boss Ancelotti insists that England midfielder Frank Lampard, who missed the trip to Zilina with a hernia injury, should be fit enough to be in contention for a place in the side against Blackpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Lampard is recovering from surgery on his groin but Ancelotti added: "Lampard trained today. I think he will be able to play on Sunday."

Irish Independent

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