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May 14, 2013

Hazard out of Europa League final

Eden Hazard is out of the Chelsea side for Wednesday's Europa League final in Amsterdam, interim manager Rafa Benitez has confirmed.

The Belgian suffered a hamstring injury during the Londoners' 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday, and will not recover in time to play.

However, Benitez said Chelsea were continuing to assess John Terry's ankle injury, also suffered against Villa.

Speaking to the press as he prepared his side for the Amsterdam ArenA clash with Benfica, the manager said: "Hazard will not be available. John, we will try and see how he feels. We will try to see tomorrow.''

Terry, 32, missed Chelsea's Champions League final win over Bayern Munich last season through suspension, and now faces the prospect of having to sit out a second European showpiece.

"It's not easy for him,'' Benitez said. "It's not the best injury, but will see tomorrow with the medical staff, and afterwards we will decide.''

But Hazard's injury means Frank Lampard - who, like Terry, would not have been a guaranteed starter on Wednesday in any case - is more likely to play, especially because John Obi Mikel is also a doubt with a hip problem.

If Terry is ruled out, Lampard is likely to captain the Blues just days after becoming their all-time record goalscorer thanks to his brace against Villa.

Lampard, who could leave the club in the summer, said: "I don't know what the future exactly holds, but it doesn't matter tomorrow night. It's about winning the game.''

Lampard said he has not discussed whether it will be he or John Terry who lifts the trophy

"Before the game I don't think it's something to talk about,'' Lampard said. "I don't like to tempt fate. I haven't had a conversation with anyone. I don't think you should do. We will see. We win together so it doesn't matter who picks it up because they will be one of the staff and we're all the same."

Lampard said the club had not over-achieved this season, but he conceded that the squad had become used to dealing with the mid-term firing of managers.

''We are used to things happening at this club mid-season," Lampard said. ''We have a few changes along the way but what is important is where you get to at the end of it. At the moment we are lucky to be in the position that we are in the Champions league next year and we are sitting here ahead of a European final.

"I don't think we have over-achieved. We have a good squad and we want to achieve tomorrow by winning.''

Striker Demba Ba is ineligible to play for Chelsea in the final, having featured for his former club Newcastle earlier in the Europa League.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report

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