Lamps lights up Goodison

CHELSEA interim boss Rafael Benitez once again brushed aside questions about Frank Lampard's future at Stamford Bridge, stressing that his job was just to keep the midfielder fit and scoring goals.

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The 34-year-old is reportedly not going to have his contract renewed in the summer but he showed his true worth to the Blues once again with a brace in the 2-1 win at Everton.

Having gone behind to Steven Pienaar's effort barely two minutes into the game, Lampard pulled his side up to third place in the league with goals either side of half-time.

Benitez said: "Lampard is a great player and a good professional who is doing well for us and I will try to bring the best out of him until the end of the season.

"If he gets in the box he can be dangerous – If he can score every game, I'll be pleased.

"He is under contract. He has shown his full commitment. He is a great player and my job is to keep him fit, keep him happy and scoring goals."

A fourth straight league win ensured Chelsea finished 2012 third in the table, four points behind second-placed Manchester City with a game in hand.

Their victory at Goodison Park was only the third for any team visiting Everton this year and made them the first away side to win at the stadium since March.

"It was a great win for us," added Benitez.

"The team showed their character and quality and although we made mistakes at the beginning the reaction was good.

"We knew they could be tough but we had confidence in the players.

"We put Ramires on the right against Leighton Baines and he gave us a great game."

Benitez refused to comment on speculation the club had entered into negotiations to sign on-form Newcastle striker Demba Ba.

"We don't talk about our business. My job is to prepare for the games, enjoy them if we win and then after, they (the club) will let me know what is going to happen," he said.

"He is a player who is playing for another team so I don't like to talk about other players."

Chelsea will be without Petr Cech for Wednesday's game against QPR after the goal-keeper was forced off at half-time, and the Chelsea manager noted: "He felt something in his adductor and we didn't want to take the risk.

"We will have to do a scan and see what it says."

Everton manager David Moyes was frustrated to see his side lose after taking an early lead before watching Nikica Jelavic hit the woodwork twice and miss a golden chance in added time.

Moyes said: "We're not disappointed with the way we've played because we played well and we've run the European champions close but we didn't quite have enough."


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