LAMPARD: VERY PROUD
An emotional Frank Lampard paid tribute to the Chelsea supporters after becoming the club's joint-second highest goalscorer during our 5-1 FA Cup third round win at Southampton.
The midfielder came off the bench midway through the second half at St Mary's and soon found the back of the net, scoring his 193rd Blues goal from the penalty spot to draw level with Kerry Dixon in the all-time list.
As he celebrated in front of our fans packed into the away end behind the goal, Lampard, who also became our joint-highest FA Cup goalscorer, alongside Bobby Tambling on 25, could be seen mouthing the words 'I love you' in their direction, which he explained after the game.
'They've supported me throughout my career here, particularly in recent weeks,' he acknowledged.
'The way they were with me today was the way they've been with me all the time and I just wanted to say thanks.
'That's our platform out on the pitch to say thanks, firstly by doing the business. They pay their money to come and watch, so it was nice to say it back to them.
'That's genuinely how I feel; this club's been amazing to me, and the club is the fans, so I can only thank them.
'I'm enjoying my football, I know there's a lot of talk going around, but I'm actually really enjoying playing and that's what it's all about really. There may be certain things going on in your head, but when I go out there and the fans supports me as they do, you can't help but get very emotional.'
In terms of the achievement itself, the midfielder was understandably delighted to equal Dixon's tally, and though there are plenty to choose from, when pressed on his most memorable goals in a Chelsea shirt, Lampard, perhaps unsurprisingly, plumped for a title-winning brace back in 2005.
'It means a lot, I've got so much respect for Kerry, he was a great player at the club and is still a personality around the place,' said the 34-year-old. 'He's actually a friend of mine, so to be able to get anywhere near him, and level with him, I'm very proud.
'I have to say Kerry's been one of the most important people at the club for me as an ex-player, and I've got nothing but thanks for helping me along the way to get level with him.
'Probably the goals that won us our first Premier League title against Bolton. They were huge for the club and obviously it was a massive team effort, so I don't want to take too much credit. On the day we needed to win the game and I managed to score two. My parents were at the game and it's certainly a moment I'll never forget.'
Having gone into the game against Nigel Adkins' side as holders of the FA Cup, our defence of the trophy got off to a poor start when Jay Rodriguez put the hosts in front after 21 minutes.
However, a debut goal from new signing Demba Ba brought us level, and after Victor Moses had given us the lead just before the break, we never looked in any serious danger.
With our place in the fourth round secure, Lampard was simply pleased to get back to winning ways after the disappointment of the home defeat to Queens Park Rangers.
'We'd been playing well and were on a bit of a run, but the QPR game wasn't up to our standards,' he said.
'We were probably a bit unfortunate not to score at some stage to make it a win, but it was important we didn't fall into a mini slump.
'The reaction of the team was good. Having gone 1-0 down, we worked hard and had the confidence to get back in the game and take a clear lead.'