Rafael Benitez refuses to discuss Frank Lampard's future

Chelsea midfielder is wanted by Manchester United

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez would not be drawn on the future of Frank Lampard today, only revealing the midfielder remains focused on the task at hand.

The 34-year-old has been the subject of rife speculation in recent days and weeks, with his contract at Stamford Bridge due to expire in the summer.

Lampard's agent Steve Kutner has claimed the midfielder will not be offered a new contract by the west Londoners under any circumstance, while reports today suggest Manchester United are plotting a deal.

Such a move would devastate Chelsea's fan base and was not something Benitez was willing to even comprehend today.

"I think it's too early to talk about teams and the future," the Spaniard said. "Frank is under contract and playing for us. That's it.

"You know my idea. He's doing well, working very hard and I will try to bring the best from him.

"My position is exactly the same and if he can carry on scoring goals, I will be really pleased.

"And if Frank can carry on scoring goals and we can win games, I'll be even happier."

Benitez would not go into any detail on Lampard's future, but was far more forthcoming when it came to the injury status of captain John Terry.

Having been expected to miss three weeks with a knee injury sustained in a 1-1 draw Liverpool, the 32-year-old has instead been missing for nearly two months.

However, Terry is closing in on a first-team return and is due to feature for Chelsea's Under-21 side against Fulham on Thursday.

"John Terry has been training and we are considering playing him on Thursday with the Under-21 team," Benitez said.

"The good thing he is now training so now he can carry on. We will see how he feels on Thursday and hopefully he can play more minutes in the short-term so we will see.

"At least that is a positive thing because before he was just doing the warm-up. Now he is training and can play so I think we are obviously closer."

Asked if Terry could be involved in the Premier League match with Stoke this weekend, he added: "It depends on his reaction. Obviously Thursday will be a different kind of game but we will see how he feels.

"If he can feel okay and train the day after, at least we can start considering him as an option."

Tomorrow's Capital One Cup semi-final with Swansea will come too soon for the Chelsea captain, though.

Terry will be joined on the sidelines by Petr Cech, while Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel are also unavailable for the first leg at Stamford Bridge.

"We want to win all the games," Benitez said. "In any club it is important but especially when you are challenging and fighting for trophies.

"We know it is the semi-final and we will try to be in the final. We have a lot of respect for Swansea because it is a good team and they are doing well, but this will be an interesting game for the fans."

Tomorrow kicks off a period of eight games in 25 days for Chelsea, which will test Benitez's squad to the maximum.

Reports of January reinforcements are rife, with Metalist Kharkiv's Taison supposedly close to a move to Stamford Bridge.

"You know and we know we will see a lot of names in the newspapers," Benitez said.

"Sometimes it is because it's true, sometimes it's the agents, sometimes it's because they don't have anything to talk about.

"It is normal in the transfer market but for us we just concentrate on football and playing Swansea."

There has also been talk that Chelsea are planning a summer move for Everton's Marouane Fellaini - another link Benitez was coy about.

"I am really pleased with my squad, with my players, they are doing well and hopefully we can improve them," he said.

"I will not talk about the market, sorry. I know it is January but we do our business between us.

"If we have to do something, we'll do it. I have to respect and trust my players. That's what I will do."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Frank Turner performing at 93 Feet East
musicReview: 93 Feet East, London
News
Toronto tops the charts across a range of indexes
news

World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'

Extras
indybest
Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee