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May 16, 2013

Lampard lauds match-winner Ivanovic

Frank Lampard has hailed Branislav Ivanovic as "a beast" and "a great man" after his goal won Chelsea the Europa League in Amsterdam on Wednesday night.

• Lampard extends Chelsea stay • Rafa expecting Blues spending
• Brewin: Benitez calls the tune

Ivanovic's last-gasp header to beat Benfica secured him a unique spot in the club's folklore, as well as a glowing tribute from the Blues' all-time record goalscorer.

"Every season since he has been at the club he has been an absolute professional and he is a man you want on your side," Lampard said of Ivanovic on Chelsea's official website.

"You only have to look at him to see what a beast he is, he goes under the radar a bit because he just does his job, but what a player. He's a pleasure to play with and a great man, and he particularly deserved it out of everybody."

Lampard admitted he feared Chelsea would fall short in their attempts to win a second successive European trophy, and was relieved to get his hands on the prize.

"We didn't play well in the first half, we didn't turn up," Lampard conceded. "We allowed them to play football but we hung in there.

"I was worried they would go and do something because they had some opportunities late on as well. When Ivanovic won the header it took a lifetime to drop in, but it was fantastic. It's great for this club to win another trophy."

Meanwhile, Chelsea keeper Petr Cech is already looking ahead to the UEFA Super Cup in August, with the location of the tie against the Champions League winners a source of great anticipation.

"It's great to win this competition because we have another chance at the Super Cup, which will be played in Prague, so I am going home to play there," stated the Czech Republic international, who went on to suggest Ivanovic's last minute header reminded him of Didier Drogba's goal in the final minute of last season's Champions League final.

"When we had a corner it brought back memories of Munich and I said to myself we would score. It's fantastic. We had to play so many games but the reward at the end is brilliant."

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