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FA Cup Final: Lampard wary of spirited but stricken Portsmouth

FA Cup Final: Lampard wary of spirited but stricken Portsmouth

Chelsea may be overwhelming favourites in FA Cup final but they are not taking Pormpey for granted.

London: Chelsea may be overwhelming favorites to complete a league and cup double but they are not taking victory over Portsmouth's threadbare squad in Saturday's FA Cup final for granted.

The south coast club has defied the odds by reaching its second FA Cup final in three seasons, amid an off-field meltdown that saw the 2008 FA Cup winners recently seek bankruptcy protection before being relegated from the Premier League.

In contrast, Chelsea's free-flowing attacking football produced a first championship crown since 2006.

"We had our day and half of celebrating and enjoying it but we've been back in training since Tuesday," Lampard said. "It's a long season so it would be a shame to not focus on the last game and let yourselves down and we've certainly not done that.

"We saw Portsmouth against Tottenham in the semifinal and we've seen them have a very spirited end to the season even with the difficult circumstances."

The Chelsea players know just how manager Avram Grant has been able to steer Portsmouth to Wembley. Grant took the London club to the Champions League final in 2008 during his stint at Stamford Bridge after replacing Jose Mourinho.

"We know Avram very well and he knows how to motivate and get the best out of players," Chelsea striker Didier Drogba said. "It's going to be a difficult final and we have to prepare well. The job he's done wasn't easy and I think if they hadn't had the (nine) points taken off they would still be in the Premier League and to get to the final is a great achievement."

Grant is hoping that defiance is on display on Saturday in front of the English football officials he holds partly responsible for not helping Pompey more during their insolvency crisis, which saw them sell key players to raise cash.

"Reaching the FA Cup final in any year is a great achievement — but to have made it this season, given the problems we've had, is a proud moment for everyone connected with Portsmouth," Grant said. "To have shown such spirit, character, and good football in all our cup games — and come back to Wembley? It's more than a dream.

"It sends a big message to everybody, especially in England, that whatever the circumstances, however difficult, or almost impossible, you can show you're alive and kicking. You can choose not to raise the white flag."

Sympathy for Portsmouth's plight from Grant's former players at Chelsea will stop, though, the moment the whistle blows at Wembley.

"We have to be ruthless how we approach the game," Lampard said. "To win the league was a huge thing for us last week. We got that job done but we knew the season wasn't over.

"The double has never been done in our history as a club and obviously not with this bunch of players. It's something we really want to do. I grew up watching teams win the double in the 70s and 80s. If we can put ourselves amongst those names it could go down as one of the biggest years in the club's history."

Lampard also fears that being denied the FA Cup would demoralize the England contingent at Chelsea as it prepares for the World Cup.

"Mentally if I went away and we'd lost that would be the freshest thing in the mind and it would be horrible," Lampard said. "We are determined to finish the job and it won't be as easy as some people have made out."