Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 2: Rafael Benítez hails ‘amazing’ Frank Lampard
Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 2: Rafael Benítez full of praise for "fantastic" Frank Lampard after he becomes Blues' leading scorer
Rafael Benítez was full of praise for the “fantastic” Frank Lampard after the midfielder became Chelsea’s all-time leading goal-scorer by firing the Blues to victory at Aston Villa.
Christian Benteke had put the home side ahead at Villa Park in the 14th minute before Ramires was sent off just before half-time for a foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Benteke was then sent off in the 58th minute, and Lampard equalised with a left-footed strike to equal Bobby Tambling’s record of 202 goals for the Blues.
The 34-year-old midfielder then tapped home Eden Hazard’s low pass in the 88th minute to take his tally to 203 for the west Londoners and wrap up the three points.
“I said before that hopefully he could score two goals and then we don’t need to talk about the record. It’s a fantastic achievement,” the Chelsea interim boss told Sky Sports.
“I’m really pleased for him. To score the number of goals he has is amazing. Hopefully he can score more in the next two games.”
Saturday’s victory all but guarantees Chelsea’s place in next season’s Champions League and the Spaniard was delighted with the win in difficult circumstances.
“It was a good game for us,” he continued. “In the end to get three points here in the circumstances was a massive achievement.
“We’re really pleased, Champions League qualification was the target. We’re at least in the top four and we’ll see what happens.
“In the end with 10 against 10 we had the quality on the pitch that could have made a difference.”
Chelsea thought they had scored before Lampard’s winner when Demba Ba appeared to have bundled the ball over the line – but referee Lee Mason waved play-on.
“I haven’t seen the replay,” said Benítez of the incident. “You cannot blame the referee for this decision because it was too quick and there were too many bodies around. But maybe it could have changed the game.”
Chelsea host Everton in their final game of the season next weekend after Wednesday’s Europa League final against Benfica in Amsterdam.