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Flash Lamps does 'trick

ANRE Villas-Boas praised Frank Lampard's sense of timing after the England midfielder's hat-trick helped Chelsea to a 5-1 victory over Bolton yesterday afternoon.

Lampard, who has been in and out of the team for both club and country recently, demonstrated that he still has plenty to offer by netting twice before the break and once in the second half at the Reebok Stadium, following up his midweek goal for the Blues in their 1-1 Champions League draw with Valencia in style.

As acknowledged by Chelsea boss Villas-Boas, Lampard has clearly not lost the knack of judging exactly when to arrive in the box.

And with England playing Montenegro on Friday, it seems the former West Ham man also knows when it is a pertinent time to give a reminder of his qualities.

"It was good for him because he had a good, solid performance alongside the rest of the team," Villas-Boas said.

"He arrived with perfect timing into the box as he has done in the past years. His talent was never in question."

As well as 33-year-old Lampard, another star of the show was 22-year-old former Bolton loanee Daniel Sturridge, who gave his old club a torrid time and netted Chelsea's two other goals.

As far as Villas-Boas - himself only 33 - is concerned, players' ages are not an important issue.

"It is not a question of age - it is a question of competence, and this squad is full of competence," Villas-Boas said.

"The talent of the players is never in question and I think we have enough to talent to try to continue to challenge for the Premier League."

The result means Chelsea go back up to third in the Barclays Premier League table and are once again three points away from pace-setters Manchester United and Manchester City.

The Blues cut through the hosts' defence at will in the first half, with Lampard and Sturridge - scorer of eight goals in 12 games for Bolton last season - both netting twice, two errors in quick succession by goalkeeper Adam Bogdan allowing each player their second.

Dedryck Boyata scored his first Wanderers goal soon after the restart, but it counted for little as Lampard dispatched his third of the day in the 59th minute.

When asked if he felt his team's display was a statement to their rivals at the top of the league, Villas-Boas said: "I don't think so.

"It is just something that fills us with pride because it is not as if we have not been trying to do this before.

"We have, but football is a game full of uncertain things and for various different reasons - luck, or lack of efficiency - we were not able to find a result with this expression before."

Bolton, meanwhile, stay rock bottom, with their losing streak in the league extending to six games.

Their defending was generally poor, with goalkeeper Adam Bogdan - in the Trotters team for the injured Jussi Jaaskelainen - enduring a particularly bad afternoon, letting Sturridge's shot from the edge of the box loop in off him in the 25th minute when he should have saved, and then two minutes later, parrying David Luiz's strike straight at the feet of Lampard, who tucked it away gleefully.