Mata backs Lampard to regain place

CHELSEA forward Juan Mata insists veteran midfielder Frank Lampard will play an integral role his side’s quest for honours this season despite having lost his place in the side.

Lampard struck the winner from the penalty spot in Monday’s 2-1 win over Manchester City, which ended the Premier League leaders’ unbeaten start to the season.

But having been omitted from the starting line-up the 33-year-old, who was also left out of his side’s must-win Champions League fixture against Valencia last week, is seeking clarification regarding his future from his manager Andre Villas-Boas.

Mata, Chelsea’s headline summer signing from Valencia, however, believes it won’t be long before Lampard is back in the team.

“Lampard is a legend here, a legend who keeps on providing a lot of good to the club,” Mata said. “He is a great presence to have in the dressing room and, for me, he is a standard-bearer for the entire world of football.

“He still has a lot to give. He will score a lot of goals and play a lot of games this season, I’m sure.”