Lampard would welcome Mourinho
Published 10/05/2013 | 07:31
Frank Lampard welcomed the possibility of Jose Mourinho returning to Chelsea on a day when Rafael Benitez declined to guarantee the midfielder a place in the Europa League final starting XI.
The 34-year-old's contract expires this summer and ongoing uncertainty over his future means Wednesday's Europa League final with Benfica in Amsterdam could be the penultimate match of his 12-year stay at Stamford Bridge. Real Madrid boss Mourinho is widely expected to be named Benitez's successor this summer - returning after nearly six years away - in a switch Lampard would welcome.
"I've always said that I wanted to spend all of my career here so I think everyone knows that," Lampard said. "I honestly don't know (whether Mourinho's return would help my cause)."
He added: "But he is certainly one of the greatest if not the greatest manager in world football. I think it would be a great thing for the club. We have got two weeks that will decide whether our season has been a successful one or not. That is the main focus."
Lampard was an integral member of the side that enjoyed so much success in Mourinho's three years in charge until his September 2007 departure, but is uncertain if a second coming of the 'Special One' would mean his Blues stay is extended.
Benitez has confirmed Lampard will start Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash at Aston Villa as Chelsea seek to confirm a top-four place and Champions League football next term. But the former Liverpool boss intimated sentiment will not be a factor in his selection for the Europa League final and offered no assurances that Lampard and captain John Terry will play at the Amsterdam ArenA.
Defender Terry missed the 2012 Champions League final victory through suspension and Lampard hopes to surpass Bobby Tambling's 202-goal club goalscoring record before the end of the season.
Benitez said: "The only player that I can guarantee who will play against Aston Villa is Lampard. The final, I don't know. I haven't decided (the team) yet."
Benitez again backed Lampard to claim the two goals needed to break the record and hopes it can be accomplished against Villa - to make his final team selection more straightforward.
Benitez added: "If he can score against Aston Villa it will be easier for me in the last two games. I will do what I have to do to win games and if at the same time I can help Frank, I will do it."