Rafael Benitez tells fans to get over Frank Lampard love affair

Chelsea manager insists club have to move on from 'legends' era and refresh their squad to stay at the top

Rafa Benitez told Chelsea fans today they must accept that the "legends" of Stamford Bridge have to be moved on as the club prepares to bid farewell to many of the players who have been a key part of their most successful period ever.

Feelings are running high at Stamford Bridge at the club's decision not to offer Frank Lampard a new contract when his current deal expires at the end of the season. Ashley Cole is also expected to leave as a free agent in July and no accommodation has yet been reached with John Terry, whose existing contract expires in the summer of next year.

As he prepared his team to face Swansea City in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at home tomorrow night, Benitez said that supporters had to accept that if Chelsea were to maintain the success of the last nine years they had to change. Although the decision not to renew Lampard's and Cole's deals was taken by the board, it has been the interim manager who has been obliged to defend the club's position.

Benitez said: "I think it's always easy to talk about the legends, and you have to have a lot of respect for them. What they've achieved for this club has been fantastic. But you have to have new players - English or foreign, it doesn't matter - and carry on winning games. That's what the fans are expecting. Everyone knows the legends have been here and what they have achieved, but you have to see new players coming. It's part of life.

"The good thing about English football is that you have good memories and you respect people who achieve something for a club. That's very positive. But, at the same time, you have to think about the future. You cannot be waiting. You have to move forward, bring in new players and try to bring the best out of those you have. You have to use their experience, too."

Benitez acknowledged that the club could find themselves short of homegrown players. Under Uefa rules they are obliged to have four home-grown players from their own club and a further four home-grown by other English clubs. The sale of Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool this month means they have already lost one in the second category of the "4+4" rule, and stand to lose two more when Lampard and Cole leave.

Although home-grown players are not restricted by nationality, there is also the question of Chelsea losing their base of English players. Benitez said that he recognised the importance of a core of Englishmen and said that was the reason he had tried to sign Gareth Barry when he was Liverpool manager. He said: "It's not that the club is moving away [from English players]. I know the club is working really hard to bring the best players and, obviously, English players are an important part of any team in England. It's a situation we have to manage and the club is working hard to do that. But I have to use the best players I have, players under contract, and these players are doing well.

"In the Champions League, you need four home-grown players. Some of the decisions I had at Liverpool when I was criticised were because we needed English players [such as Barry]. Here it is the same situation. We are trying to find solutions. English players can play all the competitions, but these are managerial decisions and sometimes not easy for the fans to understand. But it's part of the work you have to do in the club. You have to get on with your work."

Benitez said that Terry, who has played just three games since the start of October, will have his first competitive run-out for Chelsea Under-21s against their Fulham counterparts tomorrow. He said goalkeeper Petr Cech was "very close" to a return.

 

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
i100
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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