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May, 18, 2012

Lampard targets 'greatest achievement'

Frank Lampard says a Champions League final triumph over Bayern Munich would mark "Chelsea's best ever feat".

Lampard could become the first man to captain the Blues to Champions League glory on Saturday, with continental success thus far eluding the 33-year-old during his 11 years at Stamford Bridge. However, Lampard insists are not the favourites despite their impressive defeats of Napoli, Benfica and Barcelona en route to the decider.

"It doesn't work that way," said Lampard. "We've enjoyed the feeling of beating the best because Barcelona certainly are the best team. But we're clever enough to know that if you lose the final, people soon forget the semis and the quarters.

"Every year, we get asked the same questions: is this the year, how inspired are you by the failures of years before? And, every year, we have failed, obviously, because we haven't done it. We are one step closer to making it.

"Even if we don't win it, I'd have no regrets looking back. I'm very pleased and proud of the career I've had here. It would be the greatest achievement, for sure. It would certainly be Chelsea's best ever feat."

Lampard has endured a topsy-turvy season after spending large periods on the bench under former manager Andre Villas-Boas before interim boss Roberto Di Matteo oversaw a dramatic turn of fortunes over the past three months. In particular, Lampard recalls the round of 16 tie against Napoli - in which Chelsea overturned a 3-1 first-leg deficit - to be the turning point of the season.

"Football changes in a few seconds - it can go from the worst to the best and the other way around," Lampard said. "You wouldn't have looked ahead of yourselves and saw this. We're experienced enough to know things can change very quickly, but on that night (in Naples) we were very despondent in the dressing room afterwards and it took a big effort in the weeks in between the two games to turn things around.

"Maybe it was one of the lower times. I knew I wouldn't play 160 games consecutively all the time - these records don't go on forever. But it was tough at times for me when I wasn't in the team and frustrating.

"I sat back at times and got the hump indoors but I tried to carry on working hard and in the end it has turned around personally - but not quite to the full extent yet."

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