Lampard to be rested against Sparta Prague, Benitez reveals

Frank Lampard will sit out Chelsea’s Europa League meeting with Sparta Prague on Thursday despite being only a few goals away from becoming the club’s all-time record goal scorer, as interim manager Rafael Benitez intends to rest the England midfielder ahead of the match against Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday, the Daily Mail has reported.

Lampard, currently on 199 Chelsea goals, needs only four more to surpass the record set by Bobby Tambling, the striker who played for Chelsea between 1959 and 1970. Lampard, 34, has five goals in his last six games but is out of contract this summer, with little sign of an extension being offered by the Stamford Bridge hierarchy.

Benitez however recognised that Lampard is vital to Chelsea’s cause this season and wants to save the midfielder’s legs with the match against City in mind. He said: “Lampard will not be in the squad because we have to manage it a little bit.

If he can score a lot of goals it will be fantastic for him and will be fantastic for us. Everybody knows that he is close. I am sure they will try to help if they have a chance. If we have a penalty, he can take it and things like this,” Benitez added.

He continued: “But the main thing is he’s doing well, scoring goals. We have more competition now and that’s good for me. It’s a problem, but a good one because we have too many games, so to have many players available is good.

Branislav Ivanovic is also expected to miss the match against Sparta, while Demba Ba is cup-tied, having played for Newcastle in the same competition earlier this season.

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