Chelsea interim boss Rafael Benitez has predicted that Frank Lampard will break the club’s all-time scoring record.
The veteran midfielder has scored 201 goals for the London club since joining in 2001 and is just one shy of equalling Stamford Bridge legend Bobby Tambling.
Lampard is set to leave at the end of the season after failing to agree a new contract, but Benitez believes the 34-year-old can reach the milestone in his three remaining games – and has guaranteed to start him against Aston Villa at the weekend.
“I think so, I have confidence that he will do it,” he said. “If I think that he will do it that he will play at least one more game we will have to see in the other two.
“Frank is a great professional, a very good player no doubt about that. I’m pleased with him because he is training really well, every day his fitness is good.
“If he can score against Aston Villa it will be easier for me, if he scores two goals we will not have to talk about this, if we can help Frank I will do it.”
The Spaniard went on to insist that he cannot reveal whether either Lampard or club captain John Terry will start the upcoming UEFA Europa League final clash with Benfica.
“The competition in this position is really hard here. Cahill, Ivanovic and David Luiz are doing really well so we have four great defnders and they are doing well,” he added.
“What I can say is that Lampard will play against Aston Villa and I cannot say anything about the final, we have to play another game and then we will decide the team for the final, that’s it.
“The only player I can guarantee today against Aston Villa is Frank Lampard. I haven’t decided (the team for the final) yet.”
The 53-year-old also dismissed suggestions that Chelsea fans will remain opposed to him should the club achieve their remaining aims.
“A lot of fans are happy with the way we are doing things and hopefully in the end everybody will be happy because we can win a title and finish in the top three,” he continued.