Owen amazed at Lampard progress

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The Independent Football

Michael Owen paid tribute to his England colleague Frank Lampard after the midfielder's outstanding performance for Chelsea in the Champions' League on Tuesday night.

Michael Owen paid tribute to his England colleague Frank Lampard after the midfielder's outstanding performance for Chelsea in the Champions' League on Tuesday night.

"I don't think I've seen a player in my life improve so much as I have with Frank Lampard," the Real Madrid striker said yesterday

Lampard, who has played in all but one of Chelsea's games this season, is favourite to land honours in English football's player of the year awards voted for by football writers and professional players in the next month.

"In the last two seasons in particular he has just gone from strength to strength. He seems to be scoring in every game," Owen said.

"Obviously it helps that he's playing in a good team and it helps that there are people like [Claude] Makelele in behind him as it gives him licence to make whatever run he wants and not be scared of what could go wrong behind him.

"But his second goal in the first leg against Bayern Munich was one of the best goals I've seen in a long, long time," he added.

Lampard scored again in Chelsea's 3-2 defeat against Bayern in the second leg in Munich, a result that was enough to see them through to the semi-finals of the Champions' League 6-5 on aggregate.

Owen believes that Lampard and his Chelsea team mates could go all the way and win this season's competition. "Chelsea have got a very good chance of winning it," he said. "Obviously anyone who's still in the Champions' League at this stage has got a very good chance of winning it but especially Chelsea with the talent they've got.

"As I say Frank Lampard is an unbelievable player."

Owen also feels his own game is improving since his move to Spain. "I certainly think the move has helped me," he said. "That's why I came to Spain, to see a different life, playing in a different league. I've enjoyed every minute. I think I've improved and playing with such good players all the time can only help.

"I'm very pleased with my decision to be here. It was an opportunity too good to be missed."

Owen said, however, that despite Real's 4-2 win over Barcelona at the Bernabeu on Sunday, in which he scored the fourth goal, the title still looked to be heading to Barça.

"It's still down to them to win the league," he said. "We can only win our games and hope they slip up. But if they play well enough to win all their games then there is nothing we can do and we'll have missed our chance."

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