Benitez tight-lipped over Lampard's future

Sun, Dec 30, 2012, 00:00

Soccer:Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez once again brushed aside questions about Frank Lampard’s future at the club, stressing his job was just to keep the midfielder fit and scoring goals.

The 34-year-old is reportedly not going to have his contract renewed in the summer but the England international showed his true worth to the side again with two strikes in the 2-1 win at Everton.

“Lampard is a great player, a good professional, who is doing well for us and I will try to bring the best out of him until the end of the season,” said Benitez.

“He is under contract. He has shown his full commitment. He is a great player and my job is to keep him fit, happy and scoring goals. If he can score goals every game I’ll be pleased.”

Asked if he knew what the new year would hold, Lampard said: “Nope, I just hope for me personally playing in a winning team. I will keep trying to give my best as I’ve always done when here and will continue to do so.

“I know there’s a lot of speculation and talk, but for me the enjoyable bit is the 90 minutes.”

Benitez also refused to comment on speculation the club had entered negotiations to sign Newcastle striker Demba Ba.

“We don’t talk about our business in public. My job is to prepare for the games, enjoy them if we win and then after they (the club) will let me know what is going to happen,” he said.

“He is a player who is playing for another team so I don’t like to talk about other players.”

Chelsea are set to be without Petr Cech for Wednesday’s game against QPR after the goalkeeper was forced off at half-time.

“He felt something in his adductor and we didn’t want to take the risk,” said the Chelsea boss. “We will have to do a scan and see what it says.”

Everton manager David Moyes was frustrated his side had not taken at least a point from the game having gone ahead so early and then seen Nikica Jelavic hit the woodwork twice before missing an added-time chance to snatch a draw.

“We’re not disappointed with the way we’ve played because we played really well and we’ve run the European champions really close but we didn’t quite have enough in the end,” said Moyes.

“We had played well enough to get a second goal but had been unfortunate, having shots back off the woodwork. I thought we were a bit unlucky.

“We tried to make what we had work the best we could today and for long periods I thought we did, we played well enough to get something from the game.

“We were limited today with what we had, not having Phil Neville and Darron Gibson (through injury) and not got Marouane (Fellaini) because of suspension. But Nikica had a great chance to make it 2-2 in what felt like the 94th minute.”

Moyes was seen to confront referee Howard Webb at the final whistle but after the game the Scot apologised for his conduct.

“I thought it was a free-kick on Leon Osman on the edge of the box in the 92nd minute by Lampard and he didn’t give it,” he said. “But I’ve apologised to Howard Webb afterwards because I shouldn’t do that coming off the pitch.”

Moyes revealed Gibson’s thigh problem means he is likely to be sidelined for a few weeks, which is another blow to the Toffees who are struggling with a patched-up squad.

“Darron has a thigh strain which will keep him out for a while so we’re short and we know that.”

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