Lampard: I will show Villas-Boas he should start me consistently

 

If Frank Lampard had refused to come off on Wednesday night Chelsea would probably have won their Champions League tie at the Mestalla; it was his 83rd-minute replacement, Salomon Kalou, who conceded the penalty from which Valencia took a share of the points with a 1-1 draw. Lampard, though, is not like that. As the storm raged around Manchester City, he did and said all the right things about his goalscoring return to the Chelsea side. Not that he was happy about being on the sidelines for much of the last month.

"We've a big squad and you have to respect the players that play when you don't. That doesn't mean I'm happy on the day, but the manager wouldn't expect you to be happy – otherwise you're content to stick your bum on the bench and pick up your money. When you do play you try and show the manager, 'OK, you want to rotate, but I want to be one of the players that you can put your house on that is going to play pretty regularly'. You have to be strong and keep yourself in shape if you're not playing [so you are] ready when called upon. That means doing extra stuff in training [to be match fit]. I'm a man who likes to play consistently. I think I always play better when I'm on a run of games, but it's the manager's decision."

Such a view is obviously at odds with Carlos Tevez's behaviour in Munich but Lampard, while stressing he would not have behaved similarly, was reluctant to condemn the Argentine.

"I wouldn't turn down coming on and all that sort of stuff, but I understand people's frustration. We deal with it in different ways. People might make the wrong decision at the wrong time and regret it afterwards so I'm not going to dig anybody out."

Lampard's worst moment this season would appear to be being substituted by manager Andre Villas-Boas at half-time at Old Trafford with Chelsea 3-0 down. Was he surprised? "No. I'm never surprised, At 3-0 anyone can come off. You have to accept it."

Wednesday's goal was Lampard's second of the season following a penalty last month, and he added: "In many seasons it has taken me a few games to get into it and be my best, so hopefully that's what will happen [now]."

The figures bear that out. Last season Lampard scored an opening-day penalty, but largely due to injury did not score again for club or country until January. He finished the season with 15 goals. The previous season he scored eight goals before the new year, 21 after it. In 2008-09 eight before Christmas, 15 afterwards.

That said, another goal at Bolton on Sunday, would be welcome. "The League's as competitive as I've experienced," said Lampard. "We can't afford to let the Manchester clubs get too far away from us – if you do you get a hill to climb as we did last year when it was too much to come back from. Other than at Man United – and that was a strange game – we're on a pretty good run and we must keep that going."

One key, he added pertinently, was maintaining the right atmosphere within the squad. "We've a nice mix at the moment with some continuity, some new faces, and a new management team everyone is trying to impress. I think we need that. At times last year when we went down [in form] we didn't react as we should have done and that's something we have to guard against. We can't let that happen because we won't win anything."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada