Jose Mourinho has bemoaned Chelsea’s loss of Frank Lampard last summer, declaring that he was one of the top five players in the club’s history.
Lampard left the club at the culmination of his contract in 2014, opting to sign a deal with new MLS franchise New York City FC. However, a twist to the plot saw him go on loan to Manchester City - who share the same owners as New York - and he extended that spell in January until the end of this season.
Lampard at City
In a way Lampard’s swan song in the Premier League has proved that he is still capable of playing football at the highest level, perhaps an indication that he should have waited longer before opting to pledge his future to the MLS. The US’ elite division is by no means lacking in talent, but to claim it is on par with many of its European equivalents is naive at best.
In any case Mourinho clearly regrets losing Lampard, despite the fact his team are on course to secure another English title.
Nemanja Matic featured in the Premier League’s PFA Team of the Year, and midfield partner Francesc Fabregas was unfortunate not to occupy the other slot - losing out to Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho. However Mourinho held nothing back when it came to discussing whether or not Lampard was a loss.
Mourinho on Lampard
“Chelsea lost, at the end of last year, what I consider, for sure, to be one of the five most important players in the history of Chelsea FC: Frank Lampard,” he said, as relayed by the Manchester Evening News.
“We lost that player, but life goes on.
"You have to think about the future and to build, and you have to go with that.
“In Frank Lampard, Chelsea lost a match-winner with a number of goals he scored, a big character, a player without injuries who played every game, a player who beat every record in the Premier League – playing time, number of goals, goals from midfield – an absolutely amazing player.
“We lost him, but life goes on.”
Leaving a legacy
Indeed Lampard was an incredible servant for Chelsea, but it would be wrong to suggest the Blues have failed to adapt to life without him. Having lost just twice this term Mourinho’s men are well on course to claim a comfortable title, and that feat could be wrapped up if they best Crystal Palace at home this weekend.
Lampard’s City meanwhile have looked well off the pace this term and though they occupy second place at the moment they’ll need a strong finish to the season if they’re to guarantee themselves Champions League football.
For Lampard himself it won’t make or break his legacy purely due to the strength of his achievements at Stamford Bridge, although there’s no doubt he would have liked to sign off from English football with another major honour to his name.
Chelsea fans, was Lampard wrong to leave west London when he did? Could he have stayed for one more campaign under Mourinho? Let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
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