Frank Lampard: Champions League victory is not the end, it's the beginning for Chelsea
Abramovich wants more trophies says midfielder / Di Matteo in the mix for manager job / Talks over Drogba's future to start this week
Monday 21 May 2012
Frank Lampard last night told Chelsea supporters fearing the club's greatest moment would also mark the end of an era: "This is just the beginning".
The Blues' victorious captain said he believes their Champions League triumph on Saturday will be the springboard for Chelsea to join European football's elite. "The big thing for the club now is to move on, and that will happen because the owner has the desire to move on, the players want to keep going – no one wants to settle for one win," he said.
"The owner spoke through a translator in the dressing room afterwards. He was very positive about everything. He was emotional. He really cares. People talk a lot of rubbish about Chelsea and the owner but you could see how much it meant to him."
Whether "moving on" means finding a new manager this summer, as was originally the plan when Roberto Di Matteo took over as caretaker, will be decided this week. "Roberto is certainly in the mix. He has done a great job and has to have serious consideration," said the chairman, Bruce Buck.
The chief executive, Ron Gourlay, added: "It's been an incredible few months. We brought Robbie in as an interim manager and we have seen a phenomenal change and a run of results that finished with winning the Champions League."
The players continue to give their backing to Di Matteo, although even after the most historic night in the club's history none of them believed it was a formality that he would be taken on as permanent first-team coach.
Jon Obi Mikel said: "He will be happy with what he has done whether he gets the job or not. I personally would like him to get the job but the club will take the right decision."
On Abramovich's entrance into the dressing room in the early hours of yesterday morning to celebrate with his players, Mikel added: "He was a very happy man. I think he went home and slept well. He had always made it clear to us this is the trophy he wanted to win."
The striker Didier Drogba's future will also be addressed this week, with the striker strongly linked with a move to Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua, who signed Nicolas Anelka from Chelsea in January. Buck said: "We really need to get the new manager on board before we can start talking about players. Didier is a big-match player and he did it once again. I think Ron Gourlay is going to sit down with his agent this week and we'll see where it goes from there. We have to do what's best for Chelsea Football Club and Didier has to do what's best for him; we'll just see how the discussions go."
If Drogba looks to start next season in China on a rumoured contract of £250,000 a week he will have signed off in the most incredible fashion, his last kick earning Chelsea the Champions League trophy. Lampard said: "Didier gave a speech in the dressing room afterwards; I think he's going to be a politician one day. The personality he brings out in the squad is as important as what he does on the pitch."
Lampard also hailed the Chelsea spirit that will now carry them into a new era, not as European Cup wannabes but as Champions League holders. He said: "I have never seen a focus in a team like this. We carried on from Barcelona. You just get a feeling that your name is on the cup. You don't like to say it before because you look like such a fool if it doesn't turn out that way, but that is the way it felt. People can talk about luck but we have had enough bad luck in this competition over the years that people can't just point to luck this year. The circumstances of the victory only make the achievement greater and you could see that in the celebrations.
"We have had to suffer to win it. We had to come to their home stadium and defend for our lives, with people throwing bodies in front of the ball, and then for it to come down to penalties when you might think 'game over', yet we managed it. The momentum just carried us through. Players had tears in their eyes at the end – football can do that to you."
The man whom Lampard replaced as captain, John Terry, said a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. "Eight, nine years I have been waiting for this," he said. "Being knocked out of competitions in the last minute, losing on penalties in Moscow and losing against Liverpool, those are all things that have lived with me. I can live with missing the final because the club have won. That is all that matters because I care about this football club so much. It's just a great way to finish the greatest season in Chelsea's history."
Nine-year itch: Abramovich gets his reward
Saturday was the crowning glory of Roman Abramovich's nine years at Chelsea, the Russian finally claiming the Champions League at the ninth time of asking after eight managers, nine major trophies and £607.5m spent on transfers.
Abramovich bought the club for £140m from Ken Bates in June 2003 and immediately set about investing, funding £150m worth of transfers in his opening season. His first trophy was the 2005 League Cup under Jose Mourinho, before the first of successive league titles a month later. A losing Champions League final in 2008 remained his best return, until Saturday.
Managers under Abramovich
2003-04 Claudio Ranieri
2004-07 Jose Mourinho
2007-08 Avram Grant
2008-09 Felipe Scolari
2009 Guus Hiddink
2009-11 Carlo Ancelotti
2011-12 Andre Villas-Boas
2012 Roberto Di Matteo
Trophies under Abramovich
Champions League (1) 2011-12
Premier League (3) 2004-05, 2005-06, 2009-10
FA Cup (4) 2007, 09, 10, 12
League Cup (2) 2005, 07
Biggest five transfers
£50m F Torres, Liverpool, 2011
£30m A Shevchenko, Milan, 2006
£26m D Luiz, Benfica, 2011
£24m D Drogba, Marseilles, 2005
£24m M Essien, Lyons, 2004
Timeline: how Chelsea secured the cup
2min: Referee lays down law
Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca sends out early warning, booking Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger for handball.
22min: Bayern hit the bar
Petr Cech deflects Arjen Robben shot on to crossbar, off his legs.
37min: Chelsea go close
Salomon Kalou forces Manuel Neuer to save at his near post.
83min: First blood to Bayern
Thomas Müller heads home Robben's cross from close range.
88min: Drogba delivers
Didier Drogba powers home a header from Juan Mata's corner to force extra time.
95min: Penalty drama
Drogba clips Franck Ribéry's heels to give Bayern a penalty. Robben's tame effort is saved to his left by Cech.
120min: Chelsea's spot-kick success
After a goalless half-hour, the match enters penalties. Philip Lahm scores before Neuer saves from Mata. Cech stops his second spot-kick of the night, from Olic, and after Schweinsteiger hits the post, Drogba is left to score the Cup-winning effort.
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