Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has suggested that Chelsea could have kept Frank Lampard had they wanted to.
The 34-year-old, who spent 13-years at Stamford Bridge, scored the equalising goal for the Citizens against his former club on Sunday. He refused to celebrate and it did not stop the travelling Chelsea supporters for chanting his name at the final whistle.
Lampard had originally agreed to join New York City FC after his contract at Stamford Bridge had expired. However, as the MLS club is owned and operated by Manchester City, a six-month loan deal was agreed.
Seeing Lampard score against the Blues highlighted a stunning turn of events, but Pellegrini insists that Chelsea brought it upon themselves after failing to extend Lampard's £150,000-a-week contract.
Pellegrini told reporters after the game: "Chelsea didn’t want Frank Lampard, otherwise [he] would be playing for them.
"I told him to go and score. I was so sure he would play well against Chelsea because he is a very good professional.
"I am very happy for him. He has experience and he has quality."
It is further support for the argument that Chelsea did not offer Lampard the chance to extend his contract with the club last May. That is despite the fact that Mourinho has claimed the contrary.
When asked about why Ashley Cole and Lampard left, Mourinho told reporters in August: "They were [offered new deals]."
Seeing the club's top scorer come back to haunt him would have hurt Mourinho, but the Chelsea boss was defiant after the game, claiming there was no sentimentality left between Lampard and the club.
"Frank Lampard is a Man City player," Mourinho told Sky Sports.
"When he decided to go to a direct competitor then love stories are over."
The Portuguese coach added: "I don't believe in stories of passion and heart, maybe I am too pragmatic in football. He did his job as a professional."
Many pundits and fans alike are instead citing Lampard's ultimate professionalism as a reason he was afforded the opportunity to play against Chelsea. There had been suggestions that Lampard had specifically requested not to play against Mourinho's men when agreeing the loan deal, but such a request was either denied or non-existent.
Lampard's body language after scoring certainly revealed that his move to the Etihad Stadium was a reluctant one and that staying at Chelsea was his preferred option. However, he gave it his all in his valuable substitute appearance and won his new club a vital point against a title rival.
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