Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Lampard confident over Euro aims

Frank Lampard is out of contract at the end of the season

Frank Lampard is confident Chelsea will secure a return to the Champions League next season at the end of another turbulent campaign at Stamford Bridge.

The 34-year-old midfielder's 201st Chelsea goal - a penalty which saw him move within one of the watching Bobby Tambling's club goalscoring record - completed a 2-0 victory over Swansea on Sunday to take last season's Champions League winners to third in the Barclays Premier League.

"What's more important is for the club to qualify for next season's Champions League, and we've also got a Europa League final to try to get to and win," Lampard told Chelsea TV. "That's why (the Swansea win) was crucial, and so is Manchester United next week."

Lampard is out of contract at the end of the season and has five games remaining - six if Chelsea advance to the Europa League final by beating Basle on Thursday night - to surpass Tambling's mark, but the England international is focused on collective, rather than personal glory.

He added: "If we can keep our rhythm with the way we're playing and stay positive, the big games that are coming we need to try and win.

"If we don't it will go to the wire, but I believe we've got the strong-minded players to go and do it."

Chelsea play Manchester United, Tottenham, Aston Villa and Everton in their remaining four league games and currently hold a one-point lead over fourth-placed Arsenal, having played a game fewer, and a three-point advantage over Spurs.

Lampard began the Swansea contest on the bench, but came on for dead-leg victim Ramires midway through the first half, set up Oscar's opener and converted a penalty for his first goal in eight appearances.

As well as drawing him closer to Tambling's tally, Lampard celebrated his 400th Chelsea appearance in the Premier League and 800th career appearance by becoming only the second player, alongside Andy Cole, to score against 38 different teams in the Premier League.

Lampard, who paid tribute to Tambling, was relieved to net the spot-kick after failing to score a penalty at Manchester City in February, and he said: "I missed the last one against Manchester City, so you think about it a bit more, but I felt I'd score because of the momentum of coming on when the game started to change."

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