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Benitez offers no selection guarantees

09 May 2013 18:17:14

Benitez offers no selection guarantees

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has offered no guarantees that captain John Terry and midfielder Frank Lampard will play in next week's Europa League final.

Defender Terry missed the 2012 Champions League final victory through suspension and Lampard, who is closing in on Bobby Tambling's 202-goal club goalscoring record, is in the final weeks of his current contract, with uncertainty over whether his stay at Stamford Bridge will be extended.

"What I can say is that Lampard will play against Aston Villa and I cannot say anything about the final," Benitez said. "The only player that I can guarantee today who will play against Aston Villa is Lampard. The final, I don't know. I haven't decided [the team] yet."

Former England captain Terry has not started in the last three games and was an unused substitute in Wednesday night's 2-2 draw with Tottenham. Benitez declined to reveal his defensive preferences.

"The competition in this position is really hard here," he said. "[Gary] Cahill, [Branislav] Ivanovic, David Luiz, they are doing well, too. Now we have four centre-backs, they have to compete and they are doing well."

If Terry's motivation for the final is to play a part before lifting the trophy - unlike in Munich, when he was a spectator before changing for the celebrations - Lampard has a personal landmark to reach.

The midfielder, who will be 35 in June, is one short of Tambling's record mark with three games remaining.

Benitez again backed Lampard to break the record and hopes it can be accomplished against Villa - to make his final team selection more straightforward.

"I have confidence that he will do it," Benitez said. "He can play one more game and after see what will happen in the other two [games]. If he can score against Aston Villa it will be easier for me in the last two games.

"If he scores two goals against Aston Villa, we'll begin to talk about what we will do. I will do what I have to do to win games and if at the same time I can help Frank, I will do it."


PA

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