Frank Lampard has warned that Chelsea's spectacular resurgence under Roberto Di Matteo would mean nothing if they lost both the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
Caretaker manager Di Matteo could hardly have masterminded a more incredible turnaround in the Blues' fortunes since being handed the reins exactly two months ago.
Chelsea were given a reality check on Wednesday night when they lost to Newcastle to all but end their hopes of finishing in the Premier League top four.
And midfielder Lampard issued another on Friday ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final against Liverpool.
"Normally, we'd be fighting in the league right until the end,'' he said. "Now we're not, the cups are obviously more important. We're very much of the understanding that if we get to two finals and lose them, we still end up in the same boat as if you'd lost earlier on in the rounds. So it's very important now and a critical part.''
Lampard, 33, admitted running out at Wembley would feel much sweeter considering the depths to which Chelsea sunk during the death throes of Andre Villas-Boas' doomed reign.
"With time, you realise football's not always an easy run throughout a whole season - far from it,'' said Lampard, whose fractious relationship with Villas-Boas arguably played a part in the Portuguese's sacking.
"Maybe it's enjoyable that we're stepping out there when we didn't expect to. But, at the same time, it's a final, I've been there before and the only thing important about finals is trying to win them.''
Lampard looked certain to be forced out of Stamford Bridge this summer if Villas-Boas was still at the club, along with fellow veteran Didier Drogba.
Both have been a revelation under Di Matteo and Lampard said: "Individually, and as a team, we have belief in ourselves and we want to play a big part. Didier's come back into the team, I've come back into the team more regularly, and I just want to play a big part and try to contribute. Age, for me, is no factor.''