Lampard injury lay-off extended

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The Independent Online

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that England midfielder Frank Lampard will miss tomorrow's Champions League clash against Marseille at Stamford Bridge and England's next Euro 2012 qualifier.

Lampard will be absent from England's clash against Montenegro at Wembley next month after Ancelotti insisted that the player needs more time to recover from hernia surgery.

The 32-year-old midfielder has now been absent for a month and Ancelotti maintained that he would not be in contention for a return to action until after the international break.

"Frank cannot play tomorrow," said Ancelotti.

"We need to have more time than we expected for his rest. He will be ready for the next game after the international break.

"He has not played for us so he will not be able to play for the national team."

Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the season against Manchester City thanks to a Carlos Tevez winner at Eastlands on Saturday lunchtime but Ancelotti remains largely unconcerned.

Luckily, results elsewhere in the Barclays Premier League worked in Chelsea's favour as the Blues still have a three-point lead at the top of the table.

"I was surprised by the result of Arsenal, they lost against West Brom at home," conceded Ancelotti.

"It was a strange result. I said before Saturday that it would be very difficult to be unbeaten during the season because it is very competitive here.

"So for this reason, we are not so upset to lose our unbeaten record, but we have to look forward. It will not be the last time we lose a game.

"I don't ask my players for a reaction. We have to play our football and pay attention. Marseille will look to get three points from this game because they lost the first one.

"Marseille are a good team. They play attacking football and they are quick.

"My players will know everything about our opponents but the main thing is our own game. We have to stay in focus. If we play at our best, we can win."

Even though Chelsea are without the services of Lampard, Salomon Kalou, Yossi Benayoun and the suspended Didier Drogba, Ancelotti insists the squad is capable of coping with such losses against Didier Deschamps' side.

"I think I have a lot of options," he added. "We have to consider Daniel Sturridge and Gael Kakuta, it is normal during a season to have two or three injuries, this is not a problem.

"Experience is a good thing to have as a squad. Young players need to have experience. Once they play, the experience will come.

"We have a good mix in the squad with young players that are improving and players with experience. They have experience enough to play fantastic games."

Meanwhile, Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel insists the Blues are coping without the talismanic figure of Lampard.

"Frank is an important player for this team, we all know that," said Mikel.

"He has shown his consistency over the years but right now he is injured.

"It is a massive loss for the team but we are coping well without him. We have lost one game without him. We have also scored a lot of goals but we can't wait to have him back.

"The Manchester City game was the first we have lost, we have played well and scored a lot of goals.

"We lost a game but I don't think it is the end of the season. In this team, once we lose a game we try to come back and do things we didn't do in the previous one.

"We want to go out there tomorrow and give a good performance and score some goals. We want to get maximum points."

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