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Feb 23, 2014

Mourinho: 'Old guard' have huge role

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has claimed his fabled 'old guard' have a huge role to play in the future of the club, after two of the Blues' all-time greats combined to give the Premier League leaders a vital 1-0 win against Everton on Saturday.

Newcomers like Eden Hazard, centre, are leading Chelsea, but Jose Mourinho says there's still a role for Frank Lampard, right, and the 'old guard'. 

Frank Lampard's cross and John Terry's injury time finish at the end of the game were enough to see off the Toffees at Stamford Bridge, inspiring Mourinho to suggest the living legends at Chelsea are vital to the long-term plan he has for the club.

"This is exactly why they belong to this project," Mourinho said. "You could say this is a project for the future. We only want to do this project with young players that have a 10-years future, but no.

"We decided clearly from the beginning that the best way to develop the other guys is to have a nucleus of players like they are. They are important in the evolution of the team too.

"These older players in Chelsea they have a big history in the Champions League. They've experienced everything in the Champions League. The most important thing for us in the Champions League is to have a feeling of knockout Champions League for the players that never did it.

"This is the first time that they play, some of them. Oscar and Hazard and these kind of guys."

Meanwhile, Mourinho suggested his experienced trio of Terry, Lampard and Ashley Cole will be given contracts to extend their stay at the club beyond this summer if they prove they are worthy of new deals.

"If they get a contract in this club, which probably they will, they will do based on performance, based on the quality they are showing," added Mourinho.

"It will not be because they are legends or because we owe them something or because they want to stay here at any cost. They are performing."

Cole's future at Stamford Bridge has become increasingly unclear as he has been edged out of the first team this season, with some reports linking him with a move to Major League Soccer when his Chelsea contract expires next summer.

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