Premier League: Chelsea boss loses faith in love stories after Lampard heartbreak

Julian Harris
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Lampard, who left Stamford Bridge in the summer as the club’s all-time record scorer, deprived them of three points yesterday

CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho praised Frank Lampard as a “super professional” despite the Blues’ record goalscorer returning to haunt them at the Etihad Stadium yesterday.

Mourinho’s men appeared on track to claim three crucial points against the reigning champions, Andre Schurrle having found the net shortly after Pablo Zabaleta was sent off for the home side. Yet with just over five minutes of normal time to go, Lampard made a trademark run into the box and volleyed home to rescue a draw for 10-man City.

“He is a Man City player [now]” Mourinho said after the game. “I don’t believe in these histories of passion and heart. Maybe I’m too pragmatic in football. When he decided to come to Man City, a direct competitor for Chelsea, love stories are obviously over. He did his job as the super professional he is, and good luck [to him].”

A visibly emotional Lampard, who was applauded by the visiting fans, said: “I came here [to City] to do a job, and it was a special and weird day. It was a difficult day for me at the end because what do you do? You’re caught in the middle.”

The match began conservatively, with two penalty appeals providing the main chances of a goal during the opening half. The first came after Zabaleta was adjudged to have fouled Eden Hazard, earning a booking from referee Mike Dean. The resulting free kick seemed to hit a City arm, yet Dean was unmoved and also turned down two City appeals either side of the break.

The match turned soon after the hour mark when Zabaleta tangled with Diego Costa, prompting Dean to show the full-back a second yellow card.

The home team continued to push forward, but were caught by a swift counter attack on 70 minutes. Fabregas, Branislav Ivanovic, and Costa were all involved, with Hazard eventually crossing low for Schurrle to tap in at the far post.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini brought on Jesus Navas and Lampard, and on 84 minutes the decision paid off. Schurrle went from hero to villain when he failed to track James Milner’s run, the winger heading a cross back across goal to Lampard who volleyed home.