Scolari: Lampard will stay

08 July 2008 01:57
Luiz Felipe Scolari claims Frank Lampard wants to stay at Chelsea and is keen to sign a new contract despite interest in the midfielder from Internazionale. The 30-year-old England international was the subject of an approach from the Italian champions earlier in the week which the Blues rejected. Former Chelsea and newly-installed Inter boss Jose Mourinho had hoped to lure the unsettled midfielder to Italy. But speaking at his first press conference since being handed the managerial reins at Stamford Bridge, the former Portugal coach revealed he had held positive talks with Lampard over his future. The former West Ham United youngster has just 12 months remaining on his existing contract and has failed to agree terms on a new deal despite lengthy discussions. "I spoke to Frank Lampard yesterday and I like him as a player and a person," revealed Scolari. "I asked if he wanted to stay and he said 'not only this season but more'. He said he wants to stay and play for Chelsea for many years. "I am very happy because Chelsea needs Lampard. I think he is with us for more time than one year." Meanwhile, Scolari also attempted to end speculation surrounding the future of Didier Drogba. The striker has been linked with moves to Internazionale, AC Milan and Real Madrid during a summer of speculation, but Scolari claimed the Ivory Coast hit-man is: "200 per cent part of his plans". "I spoke to him yesterday at our base," he continued. "He has a little problem with his knee but he is happy at Chelsea." Elsewhere, the 59-year-old Brazilian revealed he was undaunted by the prospect of following in the footsteps of a manager who was sacked after guiding the club to three runners-up finishes last season. His predecessor Avram Grant was axed after finishing second in the Premier League and losing in the Finals of the Champions League and League Cup last season. "This is a new challenge and a different challenge," he conceded. "In my life I have never had an opportunity like Chelsea. "All the coaches in the world need to win and I am at one of the biggest clubs in the world so sure I need to win." Scolari though was keen to keep his cards close to his chest in terms of possible future new signings. Portugal playmaker Deco has already joined the Blues since his appointment, but elsewhere Scolari was coy on his plans to make a mark on the squad he has inherited. "I don't know now how many changes I need to make," he claimed. "I need to see the players in training and get to know the group. After this it is possible to say how many changes we need or don't (need)."

Source: ESA

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