Belfast Telegraph

Manchester City's Frank Lampard playing like a teenager says Pablo Zabalata

By Nick Purewal

Frank Lampard is "still playing like he's 18 years old" and driving Manchester City's Premier League title race with former club Chelsea, according to Pablo Zabaleta.

Full-back Zabaleta hailed Lampard's growing influence as the City hierarchy consider whether to seek an extension to the 36-year-old's loan deal.

Former Chelsea and England midfielder Lampard fired his 174th Premier League goal in City's 3-0 victory at Southampton on Sunday.

The ex-West Ham star is scheduled to join New York City FC in January after leaving Chelsea last summer, but Manchester City remain keen to extend his stay in the north west.

"For me what makes Frank Lampard special is how professional he is in training: this is what I appreciate from him," said Zabaleta.

"You see him at training: he is the first to arrive on the training ground and the last to go home.

"He won everything with Chelsea, he's a legend in football and he's still playing like he's 18 years old."

Lampard coolly slotted City's second and decisive goal at St Mary's on Sunday, helping Manuel Pellegrini's side shrug off a red card for defender Eliaquim Mangala and leapfrog Saints into second place in the Premier League table, closing the gap on leaders Chelsea to six points.

Pellegrini's men face Sunderland on Wearside tonight, with midfield general Yaya Toure pledging to ignore criticis of his early-season fight for form.

The Ivory Coast star is ready to put a hectic 12 months behind him and lead City's title race against Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.

Toure, who struck City's first goal at Saints on Sunday, has endured the death of his brother, detractors of his form and a spat with club bosses over his birthday.

Now though, the 31-year-old is fully focused on bringing more silverware to the Etihad Stadium.

"For me the most important thing is I try to do my best for the team," said Toure.

"Sometimes people are not thinking we are human beings, people are always trying to criticise you even though you are a human being.

"So I never think about those things, I always try to focus on my team.

"The Premier League is important, and whenever we lose we will get criticised.

"Teams will always step up their game against us, and we know we've got to try to keep place with Chelsea."

Sunderland v Man City, Premier League: Stadium of Light, 7.45pm

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph