Mystique of Cup looms for Lampard

COBHAM - As the son of a man who won the FA Cup twice, Frank Lampard grew up steeped in the mystique of the competition so when he talks about the Double being special you know he means it.

Lampard senior triumphed twice for West Ham United in 1975 and 1980, while Lampard junior has also won the world's oldest competition twice - along with a host of other trophies.

However, he now stands on the verge of joining an even more select group as victory over Portsmouth in Saturday's final would make newly crowned league champions Chelsea only the seventh club to complete the League and Cup Double.

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"It's huge," Lampard told Reuters during a break at the club's Surrey training base on Thursday.

"Obviously it's never been done here as a club and for this group of players it's something we really want to do.

"It's one of those things I grew up with knowing the teams who had done the Double so if we can put ourselves amongst those names it will probably go down as the best year in the club's history."

With the first hint of warmth finally breaking through after a frigid spring in England, Lampard allowed himself to think back to his youth when the Cup final always seemed to be played in glorious May sunshine.

"I've always had a special feeling for the FA Cup," he said. "Even regardless of the fact that we are going for the Double, the Cup has been huge for me, growing up.

"The English lads particularly have a very close affiliation with it and we know the special magic of the Cup, especially final day.

"I've been there before and had great days and a disappointing one as well (when Chelsea lost to Arsenal in 2002) so I understand how important it is to go there and try to enjoy the day but also try to be on the winning side."

Lampard and many others at the club will have only a few days to digest Saturday's game before linking up with their national teams ahead of the World Cup and he said it was important to set off to South Africa in a positive frame of mind.

"What better way to go than to do the Double? he said. "It's very exciting for all the players here who are going to the World Cup for regardless of their country to try and go there with confidence and I would hate to go there having missed out on the Double.

"Mentally if I went away and we'd lost that would be the freshest thing in the mind and it would be horrible.

"We are determined to finish the job but it won't be as easy as some people have made out."

Lampard said he had huge respect for Portsmouth's players and boss Avram Grant, who took Chelsea to within a misplaced John Terry penalty of winning the Champions League in 2008.

"We saw them against Tottenham in the semi-final and we've seen them have a very spirited end to the season even with the difficult circumstances," he said.

"I think they've handled themselves very well, particularly Avram, who we know really well and have a lot of respect for.

"It's not been easy circumstances and everyone's taken to them a bit this year. They've held their heads high and managed to get to Wembley.

"We have to be ruthless how we approach the game."

Victory on Saturday would take Lampard's collection of winners' medals to three - still some way short of the unprecedented six that Ashley Cole would reach.

"It's an amazing achievement and fair play to him as he's a player who certainly deserves it," he said of the former Arsenal fullback. "To span two teams and win it six times makes him the most successful FA Cup player ever - he deserves that."

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