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."

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
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

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all