FINAL WHISTLE VERDICT: AMAZING FRANK

Posted on: Sun 12 May 2013

It is rare a team achieving something as significant as a top-four finish is not the moment most celebrated coming out of a game, which says a lot about Frank Lampard's feat in setting a new Chelsea goals record.

Both Rafael Benitez and Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert joined in the praise for the midfielder's landmark after the game, and the Chelsea manager also gave his thoughts on the team's league placing, secured by a 2-1 win at Villa Park.

'It is great news for everyone because Frank Lampard is a great player and has been working so hard to be there,' said Benitez about the 203-goal record.

'To achieve what he has achieved is amazing and he is a very good professional so I am really pleased for him, and really pleased for the team because he scored two goals and we won the game.

'Frank is working so hard every training session and every game and he is giving everything for the team.

'I had a conversation with him before one game and said I will try to help if I can, I have to think about the team, but if I have the opportunity I will give you one. Today I played him because I thought he could do well and he scored two goals and I am very pleased for him.'

On a game with seven cards shown by the referee including a red for Ramires and for Villa striker Christian Benteke…
'Some decisions, a yellow card for Ramires and a goal not given, that was difficult,' said Benitez. 'The elbow on Azpilicueta from Benteke, an incident earlier than his red card, that was difficult. Maybe when watching the replay he will have another opinion, but I will not talk too much about the referee, we deserved to win and that is it.

'Villa were a good team, they were pushing, we knew that they had pace and in transition they could be dangerous and that was their game plan. It was going well but still we had one or two situations when we could score, but with 10 against 10 and more space, and with players like Hazard, Mata and Ba splitting their centre-backs, we had more options because of the players with ability who could make the difference.'

Benitez acknowledged that injuries to John Terry and Eden Hazard overshadowed the win and confirmed the latter is doubtful for the Europa League final…
'Terry twisted his ankle and Hazard had a hamstring problem.We are waiting for scans.'

On looking secure in the top four due to a good goal difference…
'It was important for us because since I came everyone was saying he has to qualify the team for the Champions League. It is nearly done, top four guaranteed and we will see if we can finish in the top three, but at least we are in the position we wanted to be and in a transition period with a team with young players and playing so many games, the players are doing really well.

'With 10 men we could see the character after so many games. We are really pleased and if we can win the Europa League final it will be even better.

Villa boss Lambert gave his thoughts on the Lampard goal record…
'It is a fabulous achievement, no two ways about it. He has been a fantastic player for years and years and his record is phenomenal as a midfield player.'

- A clip of Rafael Benitez talking to Chelsea TV after the game can be viewed above with the full interview available now via the channel's online access.