CHELSEA’S Frank Lampard insists captain John Terry will have an important role to play in the Champions League final, despite being banned for his reckless red card in the semi-final defeat of holders Barcelona.
Lampard revealed his sympathy for Terry, who was dismissed in the 2-2 draw that sent the Blues into a final against Bayern Munich, and maintained there was no “malice” in the defender’s foul on Alexis Sanchez.
Suspension deprives Terry of the chance to lay to rest ghosts of the 2008 final, in which his missed penalty contributed to a shoot-out defeat to Premier League rivals Manchester United in Moscow.
He is unlikely, however, to be allowed to sit on the bench during the showdown or enter the pitch to lift the trophy, should Roberto di Matteo’s men win at Bayern’s Allianz Arena on 19 May.
“I’m gutted for him because everyone knows how much Chelsea is in his heart. On TV, it [Terry’s knee on Alexis] looks a bit worse than what it was. I don’t think there’s any real malice in it,” said Lampard.
“I know John more than anything will want to be involved in that final. So, if we win it – or whatever happens on the day – John will be right there with us all, and he’ll be celebrating if we win it.”
Midfielders Ramires and Raul Meireles and defender Branislav Ivanovic will also miss the final after collecting bookings in Tuesday’s triumph in Spain.
“You’ve got to feel for all of them and they’re massive players that we’ll miss. That’s horrible for them individually,” added Lampard, who is set to lead the team in Terry’s absence.
“We have to fill those holes when the game comes around. Whether we win or lose, those players who miss the final take complete credit for being involved anyway.”
Midfielder John Obi Mikel went further than Lampard, accusing Barca forward Alexis of employing gamesmanship to get Terry sent off.
“The JT [Terry] one was soft from what I saw and it was a yellow card,” said Mikel. “I think Sanchez made the most of it. Alexis did the same to me as well; he got me yellow-carded. There was a little touch and he rolled on the ground 10 times.”
The Nigerian also called on European governing body Uefa to overturn bans on the four suspended Chelsea players, or at least consider an amnesty similar to that adopted at the last World Cup.
“The yellow cards should be cancelled going into a final and Uefa should look into that. When you get to the final everyone wants to see the best players and it’s a shame JT, Ivanovic, Meireles and Ramires won’t play,” he added.
“The four players were devastated in the dressing room. We’ll go out to win the trophy for them.”
A rule change at the 20120 World Cup meant cards earned before the semi-finals wiped out, ensuring no-one lost their right to play in the final from accruing a booking in the last four. Uefa could adopt the rule, but not in time for this year’s final.
Lampard is set to captain the side in Terry’s absence
Chelsea players suspended for the Champions League final
● John Terry (red card)
● Ramires (yellow cards)
● Branislav Ivanovic (yellow cards)
● Raul Meireles (yellow cards)