London: Chelsea got the toughest possible draw in the Champions League last 16 after they were pitted against La Liga title contenders Atletico Madrid, manager Frank Lampard said on Monday.
Diego Simone’s Atleti are second in the Spanish top flight, level on points with leaders Real Sociedad and with two games in hand.
Atletico, who suffered their first league loss this season in Saturday’s 2-0 derby defeat at Real Madrid, finished second in Champions League Group A behind holders Bayern Munich.
“I think most people will say (the draw is) the toughest one we could have had, going on current form, European experience and where they are in the La Liga,” Lampard told reporters before Tuesday’s Premier League trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“They are certainly one of the toughest we could have drawn on paper, but we have to turn up and do our job and be confident we can beat them. We have to have belief in ourselves. And when the game comes around you have to beat teams like that to win the Champions League.”
Lampard also said fifth-placed Chelsea are determined to recover from last weekend’s 1-0 Premier League defeat at Everton which ended their 17-game unbeaten run in all competitions. “We weren’t at our top level Saturday and got beaten. We dropped it for a game. It’s up to us to pick it up again straight away,” he said.
Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic, who missed the last game due to a hamstring injury, is back in the squad to face Wolves, though Lampard did not confirm if the 22-year-old would start. Chelsea have 22 points from 12 games, with Wolves five points behind in 13th place.