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Mar 14, 2013

Lampard: Steaua tie 'on a knife edge'

Chelsea's Frank Lampard believes Thursday night's Europa League clash with Steaua Bucharest is 'on a knife edge', as he has predicted a tension-filled night at Stamford Bridge.

• Blog: Rafa and the JT conundrum

Rafa Benitez's Blues will look to turn around a 1-0 first leg deficit against their confident Romanian opponents, who have been talking up their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals ahead of their trip to the home of the reigning European champions.

Yet Lampard is convinced his Chelsea side are ready to come to the boil in their bid to keep their European adventure on track, as he is backing his side to recover from a poor performance in Romania last week.

"Steaua are a good team," he told the Chelsea website. "They are technically good on the ball which most European teams are once you get to this stage of a competition, and it will be a tough game, as simple as that. It was a very difficult pitch out there and our pitch will be better.

"The fact we didn't score an away goal is going to make it a difficult night, it will be on a bit of knife edge, but we have to believe we have the character and ability to turn it around."

Lampard went on to talk about his pride after securing himself another piece of Chelsea history in the first leg against Steaua Bucharest, as his 593rd appearance for the Blues moved him ahead of John Hollins into third place in the club's all-time list.

"I am really pleased to have gone third," Lampard said. "I didn't come here until I was 22 so I have managed to play regularly for a long time and to be up there with the likes of Chopper Harris [who registered a club-record 795 appearances] and Peter Bonetti [729 appearances] is a very proud moment. I never thought when I signed that I would play that many games.

"I know John Hollins quite well and I've met him out at lunch down the King's Road, he is very nice man. I grew up aware of him and know he was a player with plenty of energy, which you need in midfield."

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