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Dec 23, 2012

Lampard not thinking about future

Frank Lampard refused to speculate on his future after he helped Chelsea romp to an 8-0 victory over Aston Villa.

• Lythell: Luiz reinvented in rout
• Blog: Humiliation and hurt

Lampard recently revealed he has not entered discussions with Chelsea over a new contract, and could leave the club in the summer.

If no new contract is in place by the New Year, Lampard will be permitted to start talking to foreign clubs, with the MLS mooted as a possible destination for the 34-year-old.

But despite the uncertainty surrounding his future, Lampard, who made his 500th Premier League start on Sunday, insists he is focusing all his efforts on Chelsea's bid to get back into the title race.

"I'm not concentrating that far [ahead] because I am under contract here and I love playing here as everyone knows," Lampard told Sky Sports. "I am going to continue game by game and I'm just pleased to be fit and I really enjoyed today.

"I'll just keep trying to enjoying my football and I believe I have got a lot [left] in me so I will try and show that. The club's position is its position. I'm here to play football and show people what I can do."

Making his first Premier League start since October, and his 500th for the club, Lampard became Chelsea's all-time leading scorer in the top flight with his 130th league goal for the Blues as they ran riot at Stamford Bridge.

"It means I'm old,'' Lampard joked of the record. "No, it means a lot. I've been fortunate to play for a great club and the managers had team-mates around me.

"I'm very proud of that goals record, to beat a great man such as Bobby who is an absolute legend and a lovely bloke, it means everything.

"Coming across London is not always easy but they (the fans) have supported me from the first minute. I appreciate it. I try to play well for them.''

Lampard was delighted with the rout of Villa. "We showed great appetite for the game from the first minute,'' Lampard said. "(With) our desire to be quick with the ball, the early goal helped. We are enjoying playing again and we needed that attitude to get us out of the sticky patch we were in.''

Boss Rafael Benitez said of Lampard's future: "He's an important player for us. He's training well, doing well, his commitment is there. I'm really pleased for him scoring another goal, so everything is positive.

"We still have a long season to play, but he's doing well. The squad that we have is a good squad and we have to keep the balance. We have lost Oriol (Romeu), so we have managed with David Luiz in the middle, but we are managing the squad as best we can. If we can, it'll be easier.''

He was obviously pleased with his charges, believing it was an impressive all-round display.

"Everything (impressed me) the performance of the team,'' he said. "We have been talking before about the mentality of the team; attacking, creating chances we had good movement, we were good in defence. As a team we had the balance we are looking for.

"We played some good games this is one of the games. In terms of scoring goals, in terms of balance yes, but I liked the first half against West Ham and against Sunderland."

When asked if other teams would now be fearing them, Benitez said: "No. They knew Chelsea were a top side before, and still are. They will be dangerous and will have game-plans and ideas. Maybe they will be more careful playing against us, but they had a lot of respect for Chelsea before.

"Today we have that game-plan and idea. We knew they (Villa) would be dangerous in counter-attacks, so we were trying to stop them with the way we wanted to attack, and everything went to plan.

"The main thing is to win our games. You can do that if you can see the team improving. I'm sure it will be closer. We'll try to be as close as possible, but you can see the mentality of the team; even after six goals they were still pushing forward for more.

"I can see the team improving the little things we wanted to improve, but still we can improve some things and I say that after winning by eight.''

David Luiz was named man of the match following a dominant performance in midfield.

"I have said before he can play well in both positions,'' Benitez added. "He's good in the air, can use both feet, can score goals and he can tackle. He has a lot of attributes.

"No [I don't see him more as a central midfielder], I knew it could be an option. Now we can manage in a different way we can use him as a holding midfielder but also as a centre back.''

Forward Daniel Sturridge has been heavily linked with a move to Premier League rivals Liverpool and although Benitez does not believe the deal has yet gone through, it is only a matter of time.

"I cannot confirm but I think so (it will go through),'' he said. "There is still no news if we know more I'll let you know.''

His opposite number Paul Lambert was more concerned with his side's performance, for which he gave no excuse.

"I'm not going to sit here and make excuses, we were well beaten, second best all over the pitch,'' he said. "We'll have to pick ourselves up and go again on Wednesday, hurt as we are. Nothing really surprises me in football. I've been in it long enough to know you have to be bang at it every single game, but we were well below our standard of late.

"We'll go back to the training ground, train tomorrow and Tuesday, and go again. You go into every game thinking you can win. The first goal put us on the back foot, two minutes gone with a great header, but football shouldn't surprise you. They're a really young side. Sometimes getting beat tells you a lot about people.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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