Chelsea go third after Frank Lampard double nails Everton
Lampard reminds Chelsea what he’s made of - but Benitez refuses to be drawn on midfielder’s future
Chelsea have moved into third place above Tottenham after yesterday’s 2-1 defeat of Everton. The win means the Blues are now 11 points behind Manchester United though they do have a game in hand on the Premier League leaders.
Chelsea had Frank Lampard to thank for their three points as the veteran midfielder scored in each half after Steven Pienaar had put Everton ahead after just 62 seconds.
The South African fired home after Victor Anichebe had hit the post but it was to a rare moment of joy for the Toffees before Chelsea went on to secure their fourth consecutive league win under interim manager Rafa Benitez. "We started the game making a couple of big mistakes and they were pushing really hard, but the players reacted and that was good,” said Benitez.
Lampard came to Chelsea’s rescue just hours after a report in The Sun suggested he was mulling over a lucrative move to LA Galaxy when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Though Benitez wouldn’t be drawn when asked about the future of the England midfielder, he did comment: "My job is to keep Lampard fit. He is under contract, fully committed and working hard and that is it. My job is to coach the players, and keep winning games and keep my opinion."
Lampard levelled for Chelsea just before the break and then put his side ahead on 72 minutes with a crisp volley after fine work by Juan Mata. It was Everton’s first home defeat in the Premier league since Arsenal won at Goodison Park in March, and Lampard admitted later that it hadn’t been easy.
"It was very hard," said the 34-year-old, who has now scored in his last three Premier League starts. "This is always one of the most difficult games of the season. We got a tanking here last year and we had to stand up for ourselves."
Asked whether he thought Chelsea could overhaul United, Lampard responded: "We have to keep believing this season - there is a long way to go. We can only win our games then rely on other things."
In the day’s other game, Liverpool brushed aside Queen’s Park Rangers 3-0 to move into ninth spot. The Reds were in control from the start, going one up on ten minutes when Luis Suarez scored a fine individual effort. The Uruguayan grabbed a second six minutes later and Daniel Agger made it 3-0 to the visitors before the half-hour mark.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was forced to watch the game from his sick bed after falling victim to the Norovirus bug, but his counterpart Harry Redknapp won’t have felt much better at the end of a day that sees QPR three points adrift at the foot of the table.