Mourinho retains faith in Lampard
Published 24/07/2013 | 23:47
Age is just a number for Jose Mourinho, who believes Frank Lampard can be as influential a player in his second spell at Chelsea as during the first.
Lampard scored both goals at Bolton as Mourinho's men won Chelsea's first championship in 50 years in 2005 as part of a stunning period of success. Mourinho returned to Chelsea in June, just a few weeks after club record goalscorer Lampard, now 35, signed a one-year contract extension.
Lampard was a near ever-present in Mourinho's first spell in charge, but cannot expect to be so any more and is poised to return from the club's pre-season tour of Asia without kicking a ball against hostile opposition.
The final friendly against the BNI Indonesian All-Stars XI is on Thursday night and the midfielder has an Achilles injury, which Mourinho is not prepared to risk.
Prolonging Lampard's career will be about managing and planning his involvement, Mourinho says.
"I believe he is the same player (as before), with the difference of, he is 35 and the time (needed) to recover from match to match is not the same for a man of 25 to a man of 35," Mourinho said.
"The role doesn't have to change. What has to change is the way we analyse competition. Before we didn't analyse, before it was 'every match: he plays'. Sometimes I wanted to give him a rest in a Carling Cup match and he said 'if you give me a rest the next match I will not be the same, because I have to play every three days'.
"He can't play 60 matches like he did before, but the quality of the player and what he represents for the way I like to play football is exactly the same."
Mourinho says Lampard, who was rotated under Rafael Benitez last season, accepts that he will not be selected for every match.
Mourinho added: "We have to analyse the fixtures, to analyse the matches, to analyse the week we have and to make a few choices. He's intelligent, he's open, he has a very good relationship with me.
"He knows I know how to do it with players of his age, because at the end of the day we have to be just clever, because the player is the same. Performance is how good you are, not your passport or birth certificate. It's about performance, nothing else."