Frank Lampard must wait for his chance to achieve milestone for Chelsea
Rafael Benitez to rest midfielder tonight
Wednesday 20 February 2013
Rafael Benitez has promised that Frank Lampard will break the Chelsea goal-scoring record this season, but he will not give him the chance to score his 200th tomorrow night.
Lampard has scored 199 Chelsea goals, and he has an excellent chance of breaking Bobby Tambling's record of 202 before his possible departure this summer. There will be no progress tonight, though, with Lampard rested for Chelsea's Europa League last-32 second leg at home against Sparta Prague, in which they already have a 1-0 lead from the first leg.
Chelsea have been awash with midweek fixtures for months and interim manager Benitez has left Lampard out of tonight's squad, along with Demba Ba and Branislav Ivanovic.
"We had a problem," Benitez explained. "Ramires and Frank have been playing too many games. It's different in a normal team playing once a week. Here, the last five games could be in three weeks. Six games in three weeks is too much for anyone, even Ramires and Frank."
On Sunday, Chelsea travel to Manchester City, and victory would move them within one point of the Premier League champions. "The manager has to keep an eye on everything if he can," Benitez said. "We are thinking a bit about that, but the priority will be this game [tomorrow night]."
Despite Lampard's absence this evening, there are still 12 Premier League games left as well as likely Europa League and FA Cup ties for him and Benitez was certain that he would break Tambling's record.
"I can see how he trains and what he's doing," said Benitez. "I can see him scoring more goals. He'll score more than four or five before now and the end of the season.
"If he can score a lot of goals it will be fantastic for him and for us. Everyone knows he's close. They will try to help if we have a chance. If we have a penalty, he can take it. He's doing well, scoring goals."
Gary Cahill said that Chelsea players were very keen for Lampard to break the record: "Everyone's aware of it, for definite, and willing him on. I feel he can do it, and in the form he's in at the minute you wouldn't bet against him."
"He's phenomenal, works hard on his game, is in great form at the minute banging goals in for club and country."
Do you qualify – and how do you get it?
The Mayor of London's sister, Rachel Johnson, apologises for shocking tweet about the PM
Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband
Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes head injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener fights for his life
Sam Wallace: Players of Suarez’s standing just don’t sign for clubs like Liverpool
Phil Hughes injury: Batsman had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich comment: Frank Lampard's part in City win shows folly of letting him leave
Schalke vs Chelsea: Roberto Di Matteo admits thrashing by former side was most painful defeat of his career
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 3 Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services