Ugly scenes can’t ruin Lampard milestone

Rafael Benitez insisted the ugly scenes sparked by Frank Lampard’s 200th goal for Chelsea in the 2-0 win over West Ham shouldn’t overshadow the England midfielder’s landmark achievement.



By (Agencies)

Published: Tue 19 Mar 2013, 11:45 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:46 AM

Lampard finally reached his double century for the Blues after a month stuck on 199 with a first half header against his former club at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

But the 34-year-old’s goal was greeted with anger by West Ham’s travelling supporters as Lampard and John Terry celebrated the milestone in front of the away end.

Frank Lampard of Chelsea goes to celebrate with John Terry after scoring their first goal against West Ham United. — Getty Images

Terry, who started the match on the substitutes’ bench, had already responded to taunts from the east London club’s fans as he warmed up in front of them by bending over to aim his backside towards them.

And the atmosphere turned even uglier when Terry and Lampard, who had been hated by West Ham supporters since leaving for Chelsea in 2001, were greeted with missiles thrown onto the pitch following the 19th minute goal.

It was claimed Terry was hit by a coin and fourth official Howard Webb told Benitez to instruct Chelsea’s substitutes to warm up away from the West Hams fans after that. But Blues interim manager Benitez was adamant the unsavoury incident should not detract from Lampard’s achievement, which moved him within two goals of Bobby Tambling’s club record.

“When you score 200 goals you don’t think too much about where you are celebrating, but after that you think it would have been better to be in another part (of the stadium),” Benitez said. “We said it would be better if they do the warm-up on the other side. Howard Webb told us. I don’t know if it was his decision.”

Benitez’s relationship with Lampard hardly got off to the best start when he went public with the news that the midfielder would be allowed to leave at the end of the season. But he has grown to admire Lampard’s professionalism, installing him as captain against the Hammers and admitted only Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard can match his influence over the last decade.

“I’m just happy he has scored 200 goals. It’s a fantastic achievement for any player, especially someone like him,” Benitez said.

“Since I came to this country people have asked me about Gerrard and Lampard. Both are great players. We are talking about Lampard and you can see him training, always working hard. There are plenty more games left so hopefully he can score more.”

The win over the Hammers also moved the Blues above Tottenham into third place in the Premier League. “It’s not been a bad week,” Benitez said. “If the team is playing well the fans will enjoy it, that is the main target for us. We have to stick together and make the right results.”


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