Late Lampard breaks Blues’ win drought


CHELSEA hero Frank Lampard admits he was lucky to still be on the pitch to snatch the late goal that earned the Blues a first win in five matches.

Lampard volleyed home Ashley Cole’s 89th-minute cross after Stephen Ward’s equaliser, just moments earlier, appeared to have rendered Ramires’ opener redundant.

But the England midfielder (right) might have been sent off for a first-half challenge on Adam Hammill for which he concedes he was fortunate to escape with a booking.

“My heart was in my mouth over that challenge, I have to admit that,” said Lampard. “There was no malice but I was late and I might have been a bit lucky to stay on.”

Victory lifted Chelsea back into the top four and brought under-pressure manager Andre Villas-Boas some much-needed cheer following a miserable festive run. His players ran to celebrate with him and his bench after Ramires had poked into the top corner from Juan Mata’s corner – a gesture he denied he had instigated.

“It’s just part of them showing the unity of the team,” said Villas-Boas. “I did not know the celebration was coming.”

Chelsea remain eight points off the top of the Premier League, with the top two still to play this week, and Villas-Boas insisted his team needed greater consistency to challenge them.

“If we go on a winning streak of five or six games, which we are capable of, we can be fighting for this league,” he added.

Ward drove a low equaliser from amid a busy penalty area, but his relief was short-lived as Lampard met Cole’s pacy cross with a firm side-footed volley from close range.