Paul Lambert says Wolves will only enjoy the spectacle of taking on the runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea at Molineux tomorrow (5.30pm) – if they perform at their best and stay in the game.
Chelsea are eight points clear at the summit of English football, and have lost only once in their last 18 games, but Lambert says Wolves will do everything they can to try and spring a surprise and follow up previous Emirates FA Cup scalps in Stoke City and Liverpool.
“As long as we can stay in the game as long as we can and not let the occasion over-awe us then let’s see what happens,” says Lambert.
“We’re up against a team that’s eight points clear in the Premier League with a great manager and a great team who are playing ever so well.
“But on one given day, you never know.
“We’ll need to punch above our weight – but first and foremost we have to do what we’re good at, not play Chelsea’s way, or into their way of playing.
“Like at Liverpool, we have to try and take them out their comfort zone. I’ve watched a few games of theirs and been to see them live.
“If we play short passes near our goal and we lose it we’ll be in trouble. We have to find a way to eradicate that, limit mistakes as best we can.
“For me the most important thing is we play the way we play, which is hopefully with the energy we’ve showed recently bar Tuesday night. Don’t worry about anything else.
“On any given day we can win.
“But we have to perform. As long as we play the game and not the occasion we’ll see what happens. We’ve got to stay in the game.”
Tactically Lambert knows Wolves would be expected to get on the front foot in a home game, but with Chelsea’s quality, believes tomorrow could be different.
“Normally I’d say the onus is on us at home, but on this occasion it’s not because we’re up against a team that I don’t even know when they last got beat,” he says.
“The onus and expectancy is on Chelsea because of who they are and the resources they’ve got.
“You look at their bench and everyone’s an international.
“It’s not as if they’re young and they don’t play. If Pedro doesn’t play then Willian comes in, or Cesc Fabregas can come in.
“They’ve no weakness at all.
“We can go and enjoy it – but we only enjoy it if we get a foothold in the game and make it a game.
“I don’t want to turn up and think this is a great occasion – I want to get through and win the tie.
“We’ve got so many fans coming as well. For me we have to play the way we play, don’t change, bar what happened against Wigan.”
Wolves are heading for a capacity crowd in excess of 30,000, and could even surpass the 30,110 at Molineux for the fixture with Rotherham almost three years ago.
And that would make it the biggest since an FA Cup Sixth Round replay in 1981 when Wolves took on Middlesbrough in front of over 40,000.
“To be close to the biggest crowd since 1981 is unbelievable, I wasn’t even a pro then, I was still at school!” says Lambert.
“I’m delighted for the supporters because these are the games you want to be involved in.
“They don’t happen every week, so when you do get one you make sure you have no regrets as a supporter as a player.
“It’ll be great walking out and seeing it full.”
Lambert is hoping to have Jack Price and Nouha Dicko available for selection, but Joe Mason will not return to training until next week and Ivan Cavaleiro remains on the sidelines.