Ultimate test holds no fear - Lambert

Paul Lambert has urged his men to be fearless today at Stamford Bridge.

City have picked up draws home and away in their opening brace of Premier League fixtures following an accelerated rise through the Football League under Lambert, but the Scot accepts facing Chelsea on their own turf is the ultimate test.

'I know the magnitude of the task, but we'll see. It is our job to try and do something,' he said. 'I won't be going there to be frightened. We have to go and enjoy it. It's great for the players. They have earned the right to play at places like Chelsea and I am hoping they go and grab it and hopefully win. We're going there and no one expects us to get anything, but we'll give it a right good go.

'You are up against world class players. We've waited two years to play these sort of sides. You don't need to go and scout them – that is for sure. I don't think I need anybody to tell me how good Fernando Torres is.

'I think the atmosphere will ensure we raise our game. The lads are used to playing in front of big crowds and they have proved they can handle it in the past few weeks. The adrenaline will be really high. As long as they can go and get a foothold and see it through the first 15, 20 minutes then we'll be fine.


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'I don't think they'll be overawed by the personnel they are going up against – I don't think they have got that in their heads. They know it's a massive game and that you might have to weather the crowd because they will come at you.

'It's not something to buckle under. We have to thrive under that because somewhere along the line you are going to get a chance. You always do.'

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Chelsea's latest superstar, Juan Mata, arrived during the week with a price tag befitting a World and European Championship winner with Spain. Mata also guided the Spanish U21s to European Championship glory over the summer.

The financial gulf between the sides is a chasm – but Lambert preaches the power of positive thinking.

'That is the nature of the game,' he said. 'They have earned the right to be there and to pay that sort of money for players. It doesn't really bother me. We don't have the same finances as that, but on any given day you'll beat anybody. Over the course of the season, Chelsea will be round about it, but on any given day it just takes someone to have an off day.

'West Brom I thought were excellent (last weekend), but give Chelsea credit they kept at it and got the win. We have to give them respect for who they are and the players they have, but at the same token we have to give them a problem. There is no point going there and sitting and defending for 90 minutes because you'll get beat. We have to have a bit of creativity in the side.

'It's about creating chances, but you also have to keep them out at the other end – like the way Stoke did it. They kept at us and kept at us and got their reward. You know the higher the level you go you can get punished. I'd have loved to win the Stoke game, but the start has been reasonable. Going to a side like Chelsea where no one expects anything of us, maybe that element of surprise can go in our favour.'

Defender Dani Ayala made his Premier League debut for the club as a second half-substitute against the Potters.

However, the 20-year-old has been ruled out for the foreseeable future after Lambert confirmed yesterday the Spaniard suffered a knee injury in the Carling Cup defeat to MK Dons.

The former Liverpool youngster is the third senior centre-back to pick up an injury during the opening weeks of the new campaign.

Elliott Ward has yet to feature following the ankle problem suffered on City's German pre-season camp. Zak Whitbread missed the Stoke game before returning in midweek from a knee injury of his own – but Lambert is in no rush to make a final enforced foray into the transfer market ahead of next Wednesday's deadline.

'We'll have to wait and see,' he said. 'Elliott Ward is hopefully not too far away from being fit. I'm delighted with the group that is here, but you just never know. Dani is out for a few months which is a bit of a blow, but that's football.

'He has hurt his knee and he is going to be out for a couple of months. It's tough for the new lads who have just come in. James (Vaughan) is the same. We haven't really seen him either. You just have to get your head around it and whoever plays will do well. Dani doesn't need surgery, which is the pleasing thing, but it'll probably be a couple of months.'

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas has no such concerns with a glut of high class talent at his disposal as the young Portuguese manager attempts to transfer his stunning success at Porto last season, which culminated in a Europa League final win.

'He has done brilliant, brilliant,' said Lambert. 'He did an amazing job at Porto. Fantastic. He has took a huge job on with big players. I don't know him, but he seems a nice guy.

'The game is about players. The better you have, the easier the game becomes. They are one of the ones who will always be in and around it so you can't look past them. They have got a new manager, but the players who have been there drive that club. They know what it is like.

'It's about getting players who want to play and run for you and a player's own personal pride will drive that on as well. If they are hungry and have the desire then they have got to want to do it.

'You can have all the ability in the world, but if you don't put the other side in that is when it becomes a bit of a problem. If you can have desire and hunger in a player with a little bit of ability then you have got a chance.

'There is a lot of pressure there and the finances of it. When you do invest, people expect things and it doesn't always happen that way. But no doubt they are a really top, top side.'

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