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

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
news

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
London's New Year's Eve fireworks event is going to be ticketed this year for the first time at £10 a head
news

Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Life and Style
tech

Try putting that one on your Christmas list
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week