Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Rafa making no promises to Lampard

Frank Lampard, pictured, has been given no promises about whether he will line up for the Europa League final

Rafael Benitez has refused to promise record-breaking Frank Lampard a starting place in Wednesday's Europa League final.

The Blues take on Benfica in Amsterdam on Wednesday and travelling fans would be delighted to see Lampard line up in midfield after he broke Bobby Tambling's club record of 202 goals against Aston Villa on Saturday.

"You have to play with 11 players and they all have been working very hard for me," he said.

"The main thing for me is to pick the right team. Frank has been a really good professional when he has been playing and even when not playing to help the team.

"All the information we have when he finishes games is that the physical data is good. He can play a lot of games. But we have to see how they are and after that we pick the team."

Lampard has more than just a sentimental claim to a place in Benitez's XI, though, with his brace enough to turn a likely defeat at Villa Park into a 2-1 win.

Benitez would have been forgiven for casting an envious glance towards the Holte End as his opposite number Paul Lambert was given a rousing reception by supporters, despite the club remaining in relegation trouble.

Chelsea's crowd have made little secret of their hostility towards Benitez since his arrival at the club and are unlikely to be satisfied even if he adds a European title to a top-four finish.

"It has been a big success, 100 per cent," he said. "(But) It was very clear when I arrived that being Liverpool Football Club's manager in the past was not ideal for some fans.

"You cannot convince everyone but I'm sure a lot of them will be pleased."

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