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Lampard out to ease past European pain

As he prepared to face Manchester United FC in his 500th game for Chelsea FC, Frank Lampard said "memories of bad luck spur you on" rather than thoughts of revenge.

Frank Lampard speaks ahead of Chelsea's meeting with United
Frank Lampard speaks ahead of Chelsea's meeting with United ©Getty Images

Frank Lampard says winning the UEFA Champions League this season would erase all the memories of Chelsea FC's past disappointments in the competition.

Speaking ahead of the Blues' all-English quarter-final against Manchester United FC, the midfielder explained how triumphing at Wembley next month would more than compensate for previous near misses. The most notable of those came in the 2008 showpiece against United, when Lampard scored but ended up suffering penalty shoot-out heartbreak on a rainy night in Moscow.

"Winning the Champions League would be big in any year, especially as we've been so close on so many occasions," he said. "You want to be known as the best team in Europe by having that trophy. Considering what we've done domestically, we've done everything at different times, it's definitely the one that stands out.

"Every year it gets tougher, but we have a lot of belief in the squad that we have here. Having had difficult stages this season we're going into the game in good form. Hopefully that can bode well because the Champions League is very much about playing the big games at the right time when your squad is playing well and your players are fit. I think we're in that position."

He was also keen to point out that he and his team-mates try not to dwell on past campaigns, which include semi-final exits in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2009. "Every year we've got close people talk about it even more, and they talk about the burden, the fate and the destiny of the occasion, but we don't think about it like that because it can weigh you down."

The England player was also keen to downplay any talk about his side seeking to avenge the defeat by United in 2008. "We'll be playing against a similar team but, I promise you, revenge certainly isn't something in our minds. I know it makes a good headline, but when you play for a long time, you don't feel any thoughts of revenge.

"However, the memories of bad luck do spur you on. There's nothing worse than losing a semi-final or a final, in different circumstances. But there's no point being negative and crying about them − they're all experiences. We hope that one day we'll have one huge positive experience that will make all the other ones easily forgotten."

Lampard will make his 500th appearance for Chelsea when United visit Stamford Bridge. "I never expected to play 500 games when I came here so it gives me a lot of pride," he said, "but it's not the main importance for me tomorrow. It will give me an extra boost going out with the confidence of the milestone, but it's too big a match to worry about it being the 500th game."