Valencia 1 Chelsea 1: Lampard says he ‘always wants to play’
Frank Lampard scored for The Blues in their 1-1 draw at the Mestalla - and then insisted he is happy at the club
Frank Lampard declared he “always wants to play” after scoring on his return to the Chelsea starting line-up as The Blues were held to a draw by Valencia.
Lampard was an unused substitute during the Blues’ victory over Swansea City on Saturday but the midfielder insists he is determined to reclaim his place in the first team after opening the scoring at the Mestalla on Wednesday.
“I always want to play, that’s a given,” Lampard said. “I’ve been like that throughout my career. I love playing for this club. I am very proud of playing here. I’ve had knocks before in my career – it makes me worker harder to come back.”
Chelsea were denied a win when Roberto Soldado converted from the spot in the 87th minute after substitute Salamon Kalou carelessly handled in the area.
Lampard had given the visitors the lead after 56 minutes when the 33-year-old midfielder slotted a shot past Diego Alves in the Valencia goal following excellent work from Florent Malouda.
It was a fitting reward for the Blues, who had started the second-half brightly as Fernando Torres and Ramires both drew athletic saves from the Valencia goalkeeper.
André Villas-Boas’s men appeared to be heading for three points before Kalou recklessly conceded a penalty. Soldado stepped up and sent Petr Cech the wrong way to rescue a valuable point for the Spanish outfit.
Despite the late equaliser, Lampard said he was happy with a “good performance” and a result that leaves Chelsea top of Group E.
“Qualification games in the group stage can be slightly bland at times but this was more exciting,” he said. “From our point of view it was a good performance although disappointing to lose that lead.”
And Chelsea boss Villas-Boas reserved praise for Lampard after the game. He said: “It was a good performance, a good display from a top player, one of the best players in the squad.
“A goal always comes at a good time for Frank. He’s been a goalscorer all his life. His abilities are never in doubt and we trust him 100 per cent – like I told you.”
Valencia: Diego Alves, Rami, Alba, Ruiz, Mathieu (Piatti 58), Miguel, Albelda, Banega (Jonas 72), Canales, Pablo (Feghoul 72), Soldado.
Chelsea: Cech, Cole, David Luiz, Bosingwa, Terry, Ramires (Meireles 65), Lampard (Kalou 82), Mikel, Malouda, Torres (Anelka 72), Mata.