Mata: Lampard is a legend

13 December 2011 02:47

Juan Mata has backed 'legend' Frank Lampard to force his way back into the Chelsea side after the England midfielder again vented his frustration at being dropped.

Lampard claimed manager Andre Villas-Boas had yet to tell him why he had been left out of the team for Tuesday's Champions League win over Valencia and Monday's controversial Barclays Premier League 2-1 victory against Manchester City, but vowed not to quit the club.

But he did his hopes of a recall no harm by smashing in the winner from the penalty spot, and summer signing Mata insists his fellow midfielder still has plenty to offer, saying: "Lampard is a legend here, a legend who keeps on providing a lot of good to the club."

The 23-year-old added: "He is a great presence to have in the dressing room and, for me, he is a standard-bearer for the entire world of football.

"I have only known him a few months but he is a great guy and he has been very accommodating to all the new players coming in.

"He has the experience to remain calm, even when he's not playing, to know that there will be times when he will play because there are so many games.

"He still has a lot to give. He will score a lot of goals and play a lot of games this season, I'm sure."

Mata was also at the centre of one of several flashpoints on Monday, with City midfielder Yaya Toure flicking a boot at the Spain winger and pushing him in the face midway through the first half.

Referee Mark Clattenburg decided to take no action over the first incident and although he did not see the second, the Football Association on Tuesday decided no retrospective charge against Toure was warranted.

The FA were also satisfied a flare-up in the tunnel post-match was nothing more than verbal exchanges between a jubilant Chelsea and a City side possibly still smarting that Clattenburg failed to award them a first-half penalty and sent off Gael Clichy after the break.

Source: PA