Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says he has nothing but respect for David Luiz as he prepares to face his one-time teammate.
Lampard sold Luiz to Arsenal for £8m shortly after taking over as Chelsea head coach and the player will hope to come back to haunt him in Saturday’s FA Cup Final.
Lampard says he knows about the influence the defender could have tomorrow at Wembley.
Asked if he sees David Luiz as a weak link, Lampard said: “I certainly haven’t. I have a real respect for David as a team-mate that I played with in the Champions League we won in 2012.
“The bond of that group was huge and David was a big personality and a top player within that.
“When I think about preparing for a game against Arsenal with David in the team, I know how good he can be and what an influence he will have on the team. I look at him that way.”
Lampard also spoke about how winning the FA Cup does not automatically make Chelsea title contenders next campaign. he said: “I do not quite see it as matter of fact as I have been asked over the last few weeks, as in if you win the FA Cup that means that all of a sudden the young players will be experienced to go on to fight for the league title.
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“It is a nice boost but it will only mean something going forward if we take the boost, put it in our pocket and continue to work and improve, on the training pitch and how the club moves forward.
“I am not trying to play it down. But a good club, a top club, will compete for cups and league titles pretty much every year. We did it for a long time. At the moment we have not been able to fight for that league title. This will not mean all of a sudden we are back and in that picture. But it can be a nice small, small step when you consider where we want to get to next year.
“When you get to a final you want to win it. At this stage in my career, my first year at Chelsea, then of course I would love to do that. But predominantly for the club, the players and the world they have put in through the year.”