Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has hailed Frank Lampard’s record breaking 203rd goal for Chelsea as “great news for everyone” following his sides narrow 2-1 victory against Aston Villa, but he is already counting his losses ahead of Wednesday’s Europa League final.
Lampard equalised for Chelsea just after the hour mark following a Christian Benteke opener that put Villa into a surprising lead, and having equalled Bobby Tambling’s record, the midfielder went one better and scored a winner three minutes from time to claim the record outright.
Despite using him sparingly since he took over at Stamford Bridge, Benitez was quick to praise the 34-year-old for his achievement, but he refused to comment on the on-going contract saga that may see Lampard leave the Blues at the end of the season.
"I think it's great news for everyone," said Benitez. "He's a great player who has been working hard and to achieve what he has is amazing. He is a great professional. I'm really pleased for him and really pleased for the team because he scored two goals and won the game.
"I said before it is not my decision but I will say again what I said in the past, that he is a great professional and he is working so hard in every training session and every game," he added when pressed on the contract situation.
Benitez may have been forgiven for having his mind elsewhere, as the Spaniard witnessed both captain John Terry and Eden Hazard pick up second-half injuries, with Terry leaving the field on a stretcher and in a leg-brace. Midfielder Ramires was also shown a second yellow card just before half-time, while he was joined by Benteke for also received a second booking.
"That's the bad news today, the two injuries," explained Benitez. "Both players are injured - Terry and Hazard. We don't know (if they will be fit for the final), we will wait for the scans."
Meanwhile, Villa boss Paul Lambert was less-than-pleased with referee Lee Mason’s performance, and questioned whether Terry should have been on the pitch in the first-place following a foul on Yacouba Sylla.
"I don't need to speak to the referee, you just get yourself into trouble," he said. "I thought the whole game the referee was poor. When John Terry takes Sylla down, the full-backs are not getting back there - he's the last man.
“The referee has to see that, the way 40,000 saw it: Sylla's through on goal. The referee should have done better than what he's done."