Posted on: Sat 03 Feb 2007

As he prepares to welcome John Terry back to active service, José Mourinho has paid tribute to the man who has been custodian of the captain's armband during Terry's absence.


For the most part, club vice-captain Frank Lampard has stepped in, his contribution prompting Mourinho to say:


'Lampard has been brilliant. Not just his qualities as a player but leading the team, showing his mentality, his strength - a good example.


'He gave us what he normally gives us as a player and something extra to replace John.'


The Chelsea manager was speaking to Chelsea TV and added:


'I always felt that John was a great captain but a great captain is even better if he is surrounded by top mentality people.


'John is a lucky captain to have around him Lampard, Drogba and Makelele - people with his mentality.'


Lampard himself is satisfied with the current state of the side as he hands the reins back to Terry.


'The way we are playing at the moment, we are back to what made us so strong over the last two years and that is the team work and the team ethic.


'It is so important we win this game against Charlton and then against Middlesbrough because then there is a slight rest from the Premiership.


'If we can win these two games, the onus is on Man United to keep wining as well.


'They have a game at Tottenham this weekend and it is tough for us when we go there. Let's hope Tottenham make it a tough game for them.'


On Chelsea's own challenge this weekend, Lampard says:


'I remember the bogey years when we would go to Charlton and get beat, very convincingly one year, but the last two years we have been on our game when we have gone there, and we have to be this time.


'It would be easy to look at the second from bottom team and think it will be easy but, it certainly won't be.'


There was further commendation for Lampard with the news that he has been awarded the PFA Barclays Premiership Fans' Player of the Month Award for January.


He scored seven goals during the month.


Today's game can be followed on this website via the Matchday Centre.