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Nonplussed Lampard rewrites his Chelsea story with City goal

(Agencies) Updated: 2014-09-22 10:41

Nonplussed Lampard rewrites his Chelsea story with City goal

Manchester City's Frank Lampard reacts after scoring a goal against Chelsea during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad stadium in Manchester, northern England September 21, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - Jose Mourinho declared the love story was over and a bemused Frank Lampard said he was lost for words after the former Chelsea midfielder came on as a substitute for Manchester City and scored against the club he had called his own for 13 years.

Lampard had often stolen headlines for Chelsea but the club's record scorer never believed that his first goal after leaving London would rob them of victory in the Premier League and send banner writers into a frenzy.

The 36-year-old former England international had gone on loan to City, only, he said, to keep his fitness levels high in anticipation of the U.S. soccer season where he will play for New York City FC, owned by the Manchester club's bosses.

But with Premier League leaders Chelsea 1-0 up and the chasing champions down to 10 men at home, Manuel Pellegrini brought Lampard on as a last-15-minute substitute.

And just has he did so often for Chelsea, with whom he won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, a Champions League trophy and the Europa League, he steamed into the Chelsea area with deadly timing to push a James Milner cross into the net.

"I knew it," Chelsea captain John Terry told him ruefully as the pair shook hands after the game.

His former boss and mentor Mourinho clearly decided he would have no truck with the emotion of the moment.

"Frank Lampard is a Man City player, I don't believe in stories of passion and heart, maybe I am too pragmatic in football," the Portuguese manager told Sky Sports.

"When he decided to go to a direct competitor to Chelsea then love stories are over. He did his job as a professional."

But Lampard looked almost pained when the ball hit the back of the net and he stood still while his new sky blue team mates mobbed him.

"It's a really difficult one," he told Sky Sports, adding he was glad the day was over. "I'd be unprofessional if I came on and didn't do my job so I'm mixed with it."

One of the most remarkable sights after a match of high quality and intensity between two sides whose battle for Premier League supremacy is likely to go down to the wire, was that of opposition fans applauding the man who had just scored against their team.


Chelsea supporters kept up their "super Frankie" chants from the moment he stepped on pitch until he disappeared down the tunnel, his face contorted with emotion.

"The Chelsea fans were singing my name and it was an emotional day. It's not how I expected to say goodbye to the Chelsea fans. I woke up this morning and didn't know what I wanted from today so I'm glad it's out of the way," he said.

Chelsea, looking to refresh their squad with younger players, had failed to agree a new deal with their vice-captain at the end of last season and Lampard left.

Mourinho brought in Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona to become the midfield engine and Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa to supply goals where they had been lacking up front and the side got off to a rampant start.

Costa scored seven in his first four league games and Chelsea totalled 15, playing high-line, expansive football in an unexpected change to the tight Mourinho style.

Until Sunday's game Chelsea were the only team with a 100 percent record in the Premier League. They did, however, also concede an unaccustomed six goals in those four games.

Against serious title rivals Manchester City, Chelsea were forced to revert to a tight defensive formation, soaking up constant pressure from Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and David Silva.

They scored on the break in the 71st minute with a speedy and deft passing movement involving Costa, Eden Hazard and World Cup-winning Germany forward Andre Schuerrle, who knocked the ball home.

Lampard, whose 211-goal tally for the club is unlikely to be beaten, said during the close season he had been sad to leave without a farewell gesture to the fans and the club he had served for so long.

That gesture, though perhaps not the one he had been contemplating, came in the 85th minute and ensured no newspaper in England would be short of a back-page lead for Monday.

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