Frank Lampard has challenged Chelsea’s players to restore some European pride after a brutal lesson from Bayern Munich pushed them to the brink of Champions League elimination.
Bundesliga champions Bayern took a giant step towards the quarter-finals of the competition with Tuesday’s resounding 3-0 success at Stamford Bridge.
A second-half brace from Serge Gnabry, followed by Robert Lewandowski’s 39th goal of the season, did the damage as the Blues were comprehensively outclassed in the first leg of the last-16 tie.
Head coach Lampard admits his players face a huge task to mount a comeback but has urged them to leave the Allianz Arena on March 10 with their heads held high.
“We have to go to Munich and play with a lot of pride to see what we can do there,” he said.
“(Tuesday) was just a clear show that there’s a lot of work to be done, and I felt that when I took the job, I feel that today. I will keep working.
“It’s pretty clear that we are in a very bad position going into the second leg, so it’s a show of character to see what we can do.”
After failing to turn their first-half superiority into goals, Bayern deservedly raced ahead early in the second period when former Arsenal winger Gnabry produced two quick-fire clinical finishes.
In-form striker Lewandowski, who assisted each of the opening goals, then prodded home a third to give the German visitors complete control.
The Poland international was later caught in the face by the hand of Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso, who was sent off following a VAR review to cap a miserable evening for the hosts.
Lampard, who won the Champions League as a Chelsea player by beating Bayern in the 2012 final, feels his squad were ruthlessly taught about the standards required at the top end of European club football.
“That’s football at this level. The levels of Bayern Munich were fantastic, they’re a really strong team, I was aware of that,” he said.
“It was a harsh lesson, a reality for the players of the levels we want to get. This is Champions League football.
“In the bigger picture, we just saw there was a lot of quality in their team. There’s a build to that.
“Players like Lewandowski, who has been there for a long time, (Thomas) Muller I played against in 2012 in the Champions League, and (Jerome) Boateng, and (Manuel) Neuer, (David) Alaba has been there a long time, so there’s a lot to their team which we have to respect.”
Germany international Gnabry enjoyed another memorable return to London, having scored four times during a 7-2 demolition of Tottenham in the group stage in October.
Bayern manager Hans-Dieter Flick is delighted to see the 24-year-old – who arrived in Bavaria via a brief spell with Werder Bremen – fulfilling his potential back in his homeland following a tough time with the Gunners.
“Playing in Germany he’s now just doing fantastically well and with Bayern he’s really developing well,” said Flick.
“He’s really capable, he’s got very good skills, so looking at it that way I’m very happy he’s in Germany with us.”