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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Frank Lampard Turn Up The Heat On Liverpool

FRANK LAMPARD has cranked up the pressure on Premier League leaders Liverpool and said: Prove you can last the distance — because Chelsea will.
The Reds floored Lamps and Co last Sunday when they shattered the Blues’ formidable 86-game unbeaten home league run.

But the Chelsea star insisted that, while the Londoners have shown they have what it takes to win the title over a season, Liverpool have it all to prove.

Rafa Benitez’s side maintained the three-point gap they opened up between themselves and Chelsea by beating Portsmouth 1-0 on Wednesday as Phil Scolari’s men trounced Hull 3-0.

But Lampard said: “What they’ll have to do is keep that up through the whole season.

“That’s what we’ve done when we won leagues and what Manchester United have done in the last two seasons.

“Whether Liverpool can do it remains to be seen. But they’re definitely one of the strong contenders.”

Lamps insists Chelsea have got the Stamford Bridge loss out of their system and dismissed talk of a meltdown.

He added: “It doesn’t rank up there with any defeat.

“Because we’re professional and we’re proud of the home record we had, to lose it against a team that is vying for the title with you is obviously disappointing.

“But you can’t compare it to losing a Champions League semi-final or a final because that is a dead-end, finished, out of it — there’s no way back.

“We’re mature enough and certainly experienced enough from our last four or five years contending for the title to know that if you lose a game after nine matches, it’s certainly far from over.

“And we believe in ourselves so I think you have a very disappointing patch after the game and then as you sit back and reflect on it you realise that a lot can be done.”


Liverpool have displayed added grit this season — six of their eight league victories have seen them hit winners in the last 15 minutes.

And Lampard declared: “I don’t say it worries me but they definitely look stronger than they’ve been in previous years. You can see that in the way they’re performing.

“They spent lots of money in the last couple of years and bought quality players and they keep getting results even when they’re losing or drawing late in games, like they did on Wednesday.”

Chelsea have FIVE stars nominated for World Player of the Year — Lamps, Deco, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and John Terry.

But Lampard, whose sensational chip set up the win at Hull, admits Manchester United ace Cristiano Ronaldo should pick up the award.

He said: “I’ll be honest. It looks like it’s going to be Ronaldo.

“Anyone who scores 42 goals in a season, performs the way he did and wins the league and Champions League is going to be hard to beat. It will be very well deserved if it goes to him.”

Frank Lampard wants a vintage Ferrari

Credit may be terribly crunchy for most of us at the moment, but Frank Lampard clearly hasn’t had to start doing his weekly shop at Aldi yet.

Instead of preparing for his trip to Hull, the Chelsea star spent some time earlier this week checking out some vintage Ferraris at a London auction. The nippy little red number costs £3.6m, or as Lampsie may consider it, a mere 28 weeks worth of wages.

Top marks to him for avoiding the footballer cliche of buying a Land Rover Sport (although he probably already has three), but what’s with the casual look? Either he came straight from training, or a certain sportswear manufacturer insisted he was snapped in their gear

Terry reveals 2020 vision

Chelsea captain John Terry says he wants to play for Chelsea until he is 40 before eventually taking over as manager of the club.

The England centre back, 27, made his debut for Chelsea ten years ago having come through the youth ranks at the club, and has gone on to make 366 appearances for the club.

He is still some distance away from Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris’ record of 795 and Peter ‘The Cat’ Bonetti’s 729 and trails team-mate Frank Lampard’s 381, but he remains confident he will play for the club long enough to match those Chelsea legends.

“Hopefully I can play another ten years and beat all sorts of records,” he told the club’s official website.

“Me and Jon Harley used to sit in the dressing room aged 17 and say, ‘Imagine getting to 100, 200 games’. Now I am up at 300-odd and I set myself targets.

“I want to reach 500, 600, 700 and really get up there. To do that, I need to keep fit and spend my whole career here, which is something I desperately want to do.

“I think Lamps has got a lot of time left in him. The Cat and Chopper are a long way ahead and they keep reminding us of it every time we see them!

“But Chopper was playing until he was 40 and that is something I want to do. I want to keep playing until I can't play possibly play no more, and then maybe look into management at Chelsea Football Club.”

Terry admits, however, that he still worries about losing his place in the side from time to time and felt he had to prove himself all over again to Luiz Felipe Scolari.

“I don't ever want to be dropped,” he said. “I am desperate to play every game and that keeps me on my toes enough.

“Even now, a new manager comes in and you have to prove yourself to him and we are such a big club we could sign any player in the world, which keeps everyone on their toes.”

Luiz Felipe Scolari feels pinch of recession at Chelsea

The Chelsea manager has been told that he must sell before he buys players as his club adjust to economic circumstances

Luiz Felipe Scolari has been told that he will have to sell players if he wants to add to his squad during the January transfer window. The Chelsea manager had expected to be given some of the £28 million that was set aside to sign Robinho in the summer before the club were gazumped by Manchester City on transfer deadline day, but, with Chelsea looking to cut costs across all areas of their business, the money will no longer be forthcoming.

Scolari had shrugged off comments from Peter Kenyon that Chelsea would not be “active” in January, but since the chief executive's remarks at last week's NFL Global Sports Summit the message has been relayed to him internally. The Brazilian may be permitted to make an emergency signing or to take a player on loan if the injuries that have hit his squad badly this season increase significantly, but in the normal course of events he will have to sell before he can buy.

The form of Luís Fabiano, the Seville striker, had been monitored by Scolari with a view to making a move for the Brazilian in January if Didier Drogba's injury problems continue.

This new sense of prudence is a response to the global economic crisis and a renewed determination to operate independently from the largesse of Roman Abramovich, the club's billionaire owner. It is unclear how much the Russian has lost as a result of the worldwide stock-market crash, with his spokesman dismissing estimates of a £12billion fall in his fortune as “arbitrary” and “paper losses”, but there is a general acceptance at the club that his losses have been significant.

Chelsea's stated target is to break even by 2010. That is a tall order given that their most recent published results, for the year ending June 2007, showed losses of £74.8 million, and as the rise in the club's wage bill shows no signs of slowing, curbing transfer spending may be the best way of progressing towards their aim. The club have succeeded in cutting net transfer spending from a peak of £126 million three years ago to £11 million last year and are determined to continue with this policy, particularly taking into account fears that the economic slow-down could cause advertising and marketing revenues to drop. Chelsea's turnover has increased dramatically to £190.5 million over the past few years on the back of lucrative sponsorship deals with Samsung and adidas, but further growth in the future cannot be guaranteed.

Abramovich has also expressed concern at the lack of value to be found in the January transfer window, based on the limited success of previous mid-season signings. Chelsea spent £24 million on Nicolas Anelka and Branislav Ivanovic last January, player expenditure that will show up in their next set of accounts to be published in February, but those players made only limited contributions last season. Anelka scored two goals and missed the penalty that cost Chelsea the Champions League final, while the Serbia defender did not make a single appearance and this campaign has made only one start in the Barclays Premier League.

Unlike José Mourinho, one of Scolari's predecessors, whose furious rows with Abramovich when told he could not sign Tal Ben-Haim two years ago played a crucial role in his eventual departure, the Brazilian has reacted to news of the changed climate with equanimity because he believes that his existing players are good enough to compete for honours and likes to operate with a tightly knit squad.

Scolari hopes that Michael Essien will have recovered from knee ligament damage to be available in January, the midfield player having returned to training earlier than expected, while he would have no shortage of offers for several of his fringe squad members should he opt to raise funds. Wayne Bridge, the left back, attracts offers from Premier League clubs during every transfer window, Roma have a longstanding interest in Florent Malouda, the France winger, and Ivanovic is surplus to requirements.