Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard relieved to end goal drought against Atletico Madrid
22 October 2009 11:14
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The midfielder said that he understood “people ask questions” about his ability after he went through the unproductive spell. “When you (usually) score fairly regularly, and when you don't score, people ask questions,”
Lampard said. “Sometimes my finishing hasn't been quite what it was last season so I kept plugging away, but after a barren patch hopefully I'll score some more.”
Lampard’s goal against Atletico, a low drive from just outside the penalty area, was only his second of the season and his first from open play having scored from the penalty spot against Sunderland back in August.
That goal (against Sunderland) drew him level with Jimmy Greaves - with 132 goals - as Chelsea’s fifth highest all-time scorer and he has now moved one ahead of the former England striker.
Although Lampard has not been scoring regularly this season he has been playing well for Chelsea, albeit in a different position, often further advanced, than he has been used to.
“Sometimes the goals don't come and it's been like that for me recently,” he said. “But I always believed and knew I had to keep working hard and the goals will come with a bit of luck. I think we're playing good football, trying to play with flair, but we're also trying to play with a real strength and team spirit and if you can mix all that together you've got a good team.”
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti paid tribute to Lampard following the Champions League win which means his team top Group D with a maximum nine points from three matches - without conceding a goal.
“I'm happy for him, for sure,” Ancelotti said. “I think that Lampard is not only important scoring goals. He's important because he works for 90 minutes on the pitch for the team.
"He's very generous, an unselfish player, and for me that's important. Yes, if he scores it's better, but I want to speak about Lampard for his work, not just for his goals.”
It is now 20 matches unbeaten at home for Chelsea, who face Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and Ancelotti also praised the performance of Salomon Kalou who replaced the suspended Didier Drogba and scored the first two goals against Atletico - having already been guilty of a glaring miss.
“Kalou is an important player for us because, when we are without Drogba, he can play and play well,” Ancelotti said. “He started the game 'no good' because he made a big mistake, but he maintained good motivation and good focus on his match to score twice after that. For him, it was very important to score. Also for us. He played very well for us.
“We are in control now of this group, but our aim is to arrive in first place. That's important for our future in the Champions League, and it's still not certain. We have to secure more points in the group. It's not been easy without Drogba, but all the players did very well in this competition so far.”
Drogba is now free of suspension in European competition and can return for the away fixture against Atletico in two weeks time.