Lampard 'loves proving people wrong'
Blackburn 0 Chelsea 1
Monday 07 November 2011
This time John Terry swapped shirts with Yakubu rather than tossing his top into the away end, but could the gesture be another precursor on the road to a moment that will shape the England captain's life?
In January 2005, and egged on by Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea players launched their shirts towards their supporters after a bruising victory that was a major step towards Terry's first title win.
For all his medals, the weeks ahead will define the legacy of Terry – who faces Metropolitan Police and Football Association investigations into alleged racist abuse of Anton Ferdinand – far more.
Although Fabio Capello has selected him for the friendlies against Spain and Sweden on the basis that he is innocent until proven guilty, try telling that to non-Chelsea fans.
Chelsea's songs of "One England captain" was met with a widespread "You know what you are, John Terry" as the Blackburn fans referred to the Londoners' songs about Ferdinand during last week's 1-1 draw with Genk.
Once again Terry was able to lose himself in a mist of headers and brave blocks as his team effectively kept their season alive with a victory that has them within nine points of leaders Manchester City.
Following consecutive defeats to QPR and Arsenal only three points would do and Frank Lampard, who scored the goal that secured the win, is hopeful that it will prove important. "Last year I think we were 15 points behind and we got back to where we could have won it at the end," he said. "You never write it off, but you have to see how well the other teams are playing, particularly City, and we don't want to give ourselves that much of a mountain to climb at this stage.
"It's enough of a gap as it is, but I think experience tells us there's a long way to go. This was a nice win to get us back on track and now we have to go on a run of wins."
At least Lampard, 33, can look forward to international duty in the knowledge that he may be able to creep under the radar for once. Saturday's goal was his sixth in eight matches after he started the season on the fringes of Andre Villas-Boas's plans.
"I just try and carry on doing what I have always done," he added. "I missed half of last season with injury and I probably wasn't at my fittest when I came back. There were a few niggles after the injury.
"But I'm still the same player and hopefully I can carry on scoring for a long time to come yet. If people write me off – fine, I enjoy it. I revel in that and love proving them wrong. I know I can still do it."
Perhaps Petr Cech should trade in his scrum cap for an amateur boxer's head-guard after sustaining a suspected broken nose in a collision with Yakubu after the Nigerian turned an early effort narrowly wide.
With banners banned, a plane flew overhead towing a "Steve Kean out!" message but there is a sense that Blackburn are getting closer. "It's a massive period for us between now and Christmas," Kean said. "We have a spell of games against teams in around us, and we have to make the most of it."
Scorers: Chelsea Lampard 51. Substitutes: Blackburn Rovers Hanley 6 (Samba, 45), Dunn (Rochina, 72). Chelsea Torres 6 (Malouda, h-t), Meireles (Mata, 83), Romeu (Ramires, 90). Booked: Blackburn Lowe, Hanley, Givet, Pedersen. Chelsea Sturridge, Meireles.
Man of the match Lampard. Match rating 5/10.
Possession Blackburn 40% Chelsea 60%.
Attempts on target Blackburn 8 Chelsea 8.
Referee M Dean (Wirral). Attendance 21,985.
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