'Crazy' Lampard is no more, says Mourinho

Aug 21, 2013, 13:24 IST | AFP

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says Frank Lampard has adapted his role at the club and accepts that he can no longer be an ever-present member of the first XI

Frank Lampard, 35, was rewarded with a new contract towards the end of last season after reemphasising his value to the club by breaking the Blues' all-time scoring record.

And the England midfielder carried on where he left off in the opening Premier League game of the season by scoring his side's second goal in Sunday's 2-0 victory at home to Hull City.

Mourinho admitted he was pleased Lampard was given the chance to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge ahead of the Portuguese's return for a second stint as manager.

Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard. Pic/ AFP

The pair struck up a close relationship during Mourinho's first spell in west London, but Mourinho says the former West Ham United midfielder can no longer expect to play in every game.

Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday, Mourinho said: "We have a great relationship. I trust him a lot, but he also knows that he's not 25 any more.

"The crazy Lamps that wants to play every minute of a Carling Cup (League Cup) match against a team from the Championship or the crazy Frank that wants to break the record of appearances and play in every minute of every match is not here any more.

"Now he wants to keep his performances high for the most seasons we can. We have to be clever and intelligent and protect these players that are over 30.

"We will do that naturally and I believe he will be a fantastic player for us."

While Mourinho is attempting to draw more from Lampard's lengthy career, he is also intent on bringing the best out of Eden Hazard's emerging talent.

The 22-year-old Belgium playmaker impressed in his first season in the Premier League last year following his £32 million ($50 million, 37 million euros) move from Lille.

But Mourinho warned that Hazard is not yet the finished article.

"I want more responsibility and more ambition. When you are a normal player, you have to be happy if you perform OK, when you have actions during the game that show quality," he said.

"But when you are a top talent, you can't waste that talent, when somebody gives you that talent. I want to give him that responsibility and ambition for the kid to be better and better and to express himself on the pitch match after match."

Mourinho also hinted that he remains interested in signing Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, despite having already seen two bids for the England striker rejected.

The former Real Madrid manager says clubs remain at liberty to turn down approaches for their players, and cited Barcelona's pursuit of Chelsea centre-back David Luiz as an example.

"You try, because nobody forbids you to try," said Mourinho, whose side visit United on Monday.

"When you think that you'd like to have one player and the market is open and the official bids are not forbidden, official bids are always accepted in an ethical way.

"Of course, the player's owners can do exactly what we did in relation to David Luiz and Barcelona."

Asked what he would do if he was rebuffed in a bid for his top transfer target, which is believed to be Rooney, he replied: "We have plans B and C. Don't ask me names because it's difficult to speak about players from other clubs."

David Luiz will again be missing from the Chelsea line-up when Mourinho's side face Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday as he continues to nurse a hamstring problem.

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