REACTION: 77 NOT OUT FOR FRANK

Posted on: Mon 18 Dec 2006

Freshly-crowned as Chelsea's most prolific midfielder of all-time, Frank Lampard accepts that his Everton strike was one of his most important goals.

 

It has some major competition. This after all is the man whose goals secured his club's first championship in 50 years. But in terms of this season's title race, the timing of Lampard's 77th Chelsea goal could hardly have been better.

 

'I felt we were at that critical stage in the game with ten minutes or so left where if you don't score, it starts to get a bit more edgy,' he told Chelsea's official radio partner Smooth FM 102.2 after the game.

 

'I was pleased with the strike. I caught it exactly how I wanted to catch it. I was pleased it put us back on level terms and even more pleased that Didi then went and finished the game off.

 

'There is a long way to go and something like 60 points to play for,' he added on the Premiership race overall.

 

'But the Christmas period is very important and this was basically the start of that.

 

'To lose points and give Man United the chance to open up the gap would not have been great at this moment.'

 

With Man United losing at West Ham, the day ended with a much improved outlook compared with half-time at Goodison Park when Chelsea were trailing 1-0.

 

'It wasn't our best first-half by any means,' admitted Lampard.

 

'We did what we had to do at half-time, come out very strong and we were absolutely dominating.

 

'We hit the post and I think they then broke the game up a little bit, slowed it down, got some free-kicks and corners and scored from one of them.

 

'We had a slight lapse and let them in with a few set pieces. From going 2-1 down it was all about our character and quality to get us back into the lead.'

 

Lampard's equaliser meant his eight-game wait to overtake Dennis Wise's tally of 76 Chelsea goals from midfield was over. It was also our vice-captain's fifth consecutive game against Everton in which he has found the net.

 

'There are always certain clubs you have a good run against. Long may it continue because this is a tough place to come but if the goals come here, I am happy.

 

'I know I was stuck on that total for a few weeks but to pass a player of Dennis Wise's quality and stature at the club, in the five-and-half years that I have been here, it has been one of my greatest achievements.'

 

Wise's 76 goals came from 445 appearances. Lampard's 77 has taken 293 games.

 

'Dennis was a different player,' said our current longest-serving midfielder.

 

'He was probably more of a holding midfield player in some of his years here but there have been some great midfield players at Chelsea throughout the years so I am pleased to be up there.

 

'I hope to push the record on further and further.'

 

By Paul Mason