Julen Lopetegui has heaped the pressure on Frank Lampard by declaring Chelsea one of this year’s Champions League favourites.
The Blues got a good look at what it takes to win Europe’s leading club competition when they were knocked out of last season’s last-16 by eventual winners Bayern Munich, the German side winning 7-1 on aggregate.
However, Frank Lampard’s men begin the new European campaign with a significantly strengthened squad, with more than £200million of summer spending seeing the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech added to their ranks, as well as a wealth of Champions League experience in Thiago Silva.
And that has led Lopetegui, whose Sevilla side are back in the big time after winning the Europa League for a record sixth time, to ramp up the pressure.
“We are up against one of the teams that could win the title, in Chelsea, but we want to focus on performing well tomorrow – that’s all we can do,” Lopetegui said.
“I think it’s going to be a tough ask. Every match is difficult, but especially in the Champions League against a team like Chelsea.
“Chelsea have bought some good players, invested a lot of money, it’s a great squad and coach that knows the club inside-out.
“They are an extraordinarily strong opposition. Chelsea has some fantastic, top players, but they are going to force us to be at our very best.
“They have been playing well lately and they will force us to produce our best possible performance across the board. We’re going to need to play very well tomorrow.”