Frank Lampard will have to be patient and wait until the weekend before he can try to reach his landmark 200th goal for Chelsea.
The Stamford Bridge favourite is currently on 199 for the Blues and was hoping to add another to his name in the Europa League last-32 second leg against Sparta Prague on Thursday.
It is not to be, however, as interim manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed Lampard will be rested for the visit of Sparta.
Chelsea have a crucial clash with Manchester City on Sunday afternoon and Benitez wants the 34-year-old to be as fresh as possible for it.
“Lampard will not be in the squad because we have to manage it a little bit,” said the Spaniard.
Benitez claimed both the former West Ham man and his midfield partner Ramires are in need of a rest having played consistently since the middle of January owing to John Obi Mikel being away at the Africa Cup of Nations and Oriol Romeu recovering from a long-term injury.
“Six games in three weeks is too much for anyone, even Ramires and Frank,” he added.
Lampard is just three goals behind Chelsea’s all-time leading goalscorer Bobby Tambling and looks certain to surpass the record of 202 this season.
It could even be quite soon as Lampard has fired in 10 goals in his last 16 Chelsea games, with four of those in the last five.
A win at Manchester City would see the Blues move within a point of them in second and would spark realistic ambitions of overtaking them.
Lampard’s landmark successes this season come with the backdrop of the continued uncertainty over his future at Stamford Bridge.
His contract expires at the end of the season, though he is yet to be offered an extension and looks as though he will leave on a free transfer.
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