Chelsea learn Leeds rivalry from Lampard, while Warnock’s wary of United’s chances

Ben Hoskins

Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard educates his teammates on the history of the Chelsea - Leeds rivalry and warns them to be wary, but Warnock isn't confident of Leeds' chances for a third cup win against a Premier League side.

Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata says vice-captain Frank Lampard has made sure his unaware team-mates are well-informed over Chelsea's bitter rivalry with Leeds United ahead of their clash and warned them about the hostile reception they’ll receive at Elland Road.

Chelsea, who in their last game lost by a goal to nil against Corinthians to lose the final of the Club World Cup in Japan, will do what they can to avoiding surrendering a fifth trophy before Christmas when they travel to Elland Road to play Leeds United in the quarter-final of the Capital One Cup.

And Leeds would love nothing more than to pile on the misery for Rafael Benitez's men.

Lampard is the only fit member of the current Chelsea squad with prior experience of what is one of the more hostile fixtures in English football and he has fulfilled his role as vice-captain by informing his teammates what they should expect.

The fixture has long been depicted as a slightly clichéd collision of cultures (Yorkshire meets the King’s Road) but the enduring antagonism between supporters remains real enough, with the rivalry especially flared up in the 70s, during the vicious 1970 FA Cup final replay.

The "champions of Europe’’ chants should be noisy: Chelsea are the current holders while Leeds fans still sing that they were unfairly denied the chance to be champions in 1975 after their controversial game against Bayern Munich.

As a recent arrival, Chelsea’s Spanish midfielder Juan Mata wasn’t aware of the spiteful rivalry between his side and Leeds, but said: "Lampard told me about the rivalry. He told me the 70s was when it started.

"They are always difficult games, competitive between supporters. We just want to play and, if it is possible, to win."

Chelsea must somehow lift themselves physically and mentally from their arduous trip to Japan for what is bound to be another war of attrition. Leeds have previously beaten Everton and Southampton and Lampard is aware that Chelsea risk being dumped out of another competition if they fail to take the Whites seriously at Elland Road this Wednesday.

Lampard said: "There's a rivalry, we're aware of it and we have to play on the pitch with passion and do the physical side of things up there, because they're going to be right at it.

"We can't expect to go up there and tap it around and get a result. We have to do both sides."

Chelsea have let four pieces of silverware slip through their fingers already this season, but Lampard says: "You can't go and win every tournament every year.

"We've never done that. No-one does it.

"We've changed the personnel a bit this year and there's been a bedding-in process and we've changed the manager, so there's been quite a few circumstances this year.

"We just have to try to improve and play better, simple as that."

Despite Lampard and Mata’s wariness about their Yorkshire hosts, Leeds manager Neil Warnock believes the strength in depth Chelsea have still makes them overwhelming favourites: "You never know if it's your last big cup tie really, so it whets the appetite," he said. "I don't think I could have picked a better team to play against.

"It promises to be fabulous with no pressure on us. Whatever team I select we can just go out and enjoy it.

"I hope we go out and give them a good game, but if we play well and they do as well there's only one winner, so we have to hope they're not right up to it and we're on top of our game."

"We can give anyone a run for their money on our patch and it promises to be a really god cup tie," he added. "There's nothing else happening in the country that night so all eyes will be on the cup tie and it will be exciting.

"As you saw against the others, I think Everton picked a strong side and we did well against them so it's all credit to the boys."

Chelsea's involvement in the World Club Championship could work in Leeds' favour, with the Blues yet to land back in Britain following Sunday's defeat to Corinthians in Yokohama due to a delayed flight.

Warnock said: "It depends which way you look at it. Chelsea could put three teams out that could beat us.

"They've got a selection problem themselves, who to play or who not to play?

"Without a shadow of a doubt the manager (Rafael Benitez) will look to win it because he's an interim manager and he'll want to win every game and every competition he can, so I know how much it will mean to him."

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