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Premier League

Rafael Benitez surprised at John Terry's 'devastation' over Frank Lampard


Although Rafael Benitez has no concerns about Demba Ba's knees, the Chelsea interim manager admitted he was "surprised" last night with John Terry's decision to go public with the strength of his feelings about Frank Lampard's likely exit from the club.

The Chelsea captain spoke out about the club's failure to offer Lampard a new deal yesterday, writing on Instagram alongside a picture of Terry and Lampard with the FA Cup: "Devastated is an understatement. We should retire the number 8 shirt in honour of Lamps". Terry went on to use a series of hashtags, describing Lampard as a "friend, hero, legend".

Terry, though, later deleted those initial comments, posting again on Instagram a picture of Lampard with the Champions League trophy: "I have seen Frank's agent's quotes on Sky yesterday. That's all I'm going on nothing more."

Lampard's agent Steve Kutner had been quoted in Italy saying Lampard would certainly be leaving Chelsea this summer, comments Kutner denies making.

Benitez had not expected his captain to speak publicly. "I was surprised when they told me but that's it," he said. "We know that we have to manage the situations as they are coming."

Benitez confirmed that there would be private discussions as Chelsea try to move forward. "But I don't have any problem. We have to talk. I think that the priority is to concentrate on matters on the pitch and we will try to do this."

Despite the strength of Terry's feelings, Benitez denied that Lampard's future was distracting the rest of the squad. "But we go to the training sessions, we shake hands, we say hello to everyone and we do a normal training session," he said. "Nobody was talking about this, we were just concentrating on the job.

"Obviously Demba Ba is a new face, we introduced him," Benitez added. "But during the session, I couldn't see anything and when you talk with them, you don't talk about these things too much."

Ba completed his move from Newcastle United yesterday afternoon, signing a three-and-a-half year deal at Stamford Bridge. He will be eligible to make his debut against Southampton in the FA Cup today.

Benitez denied that he had any doubts over Ba's knee condition, which had stopped other clubs from signing him in the past. "He is playing every game for Newcastle," Benitez pointed out. "So if he can play games, it means that he's available, he's ready and then we will try to manage as well as we can but he can play for us. It's fine."

"I was watching both knees today and I couldn't see any difference. He was training, he was fine."

Ba revealed yesterday how pleased he was to have signed for an elite club for the first time at the age of 27. "The club is at another level," Ba said. "It isn't West Ham or Newcastle. They are both big clubs with a strong history, but Chelsea is Chelsea and you cannot compare. It will be easier with world-class players around, who make the football look so easy."