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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 14, 2006

Lampard claims his Chelsea form is 'very good'

Frank Lampard insists he is not worried about his form and is perfectly happy with his contribution to the Chelsea team.

Lampard has found his game under intense scrutiny after failing to score for England in the World Cup finals and missing three of his last four penalties for club and country.

He has scored twice in five games in Chelsea's start to the new campaign.

Lampard, 28, said: 'It's just important for me to play well. I'm very pleased with how I've started the season. My Chelsea form has been very good.

'It's not important for me to please journalists and people outside the club.

'It's more important to please the manager and, if you ask him how I'm playing, he'll give you the right answer.'

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho launched a passionate defence of Lampard after Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League win against Werder Bremen.

The Blues boss said the only mistake his vice-captain had made was to set himself such high standards over the last two years and that the criticism had been unfair.

Mourinho relieved Lampard of penalty-taking duties ahead of the Bremen game in a bid to ease the pressure on him.

Michael Ballack scored from the spot against the Germans but Lampard insists he has not taken his last penalty for Chelsea.

Lampard said: 'I spoke to Michael before the game and we decided he would take one if we got one on the night.

'I wouldn't have minded taking it. It's not a problem to take them. It just wasn't an ideal time.

'I missed one a couple of days ago and it was an important time for us to score, to kill the game off. The most important thing is that the team scores.

'I've no doubt that in the future I will take penalties for Chelsea. We'll mix it up.'

Ballack, 29, smashed the spot-kick straight into the top corner for his first Chelsea goal.

The German said: 'We talked about it in the morning and he (Lampard) said it is okay for me to take it if I wanted it.

'I would have done the same thing. He missed three out of his last four. That's not easy for him. You shouldn't force it.'

Ballack, who missed the start of the season with a hip injury, feels he is starting to settle into his new team.

The Germany captain said: 'It gets better every game but, as I've said, it takes time.

'I am not the only player new to the team. (Andriy) Shevchenko, (Salomon) Kalou, (Khalid) Boulahrouz, Ashley Cole, they all have to find their place in the team.

'You can't expect that it all works perfectly after a couple of matches. They are all very good individual players but as a team you still have to mould together.

'You need to know how the other one ticks, how he runs. We don't know each other for that long yet. I think we can play better but it has been a good start.'

Chelsea have not lost a home game in the league since Mourinho took over two seasons ago.

Last term, the champions only dropped two points at Stamford Bridge but Liverpool are the visitors on Sunday, looking to make up for their 3-0 defeat in last week's Merseyside derby.

Lampard said: 'They always give us a tough game and it's important. It's only early in the season but games against your rivals are always important.

'They've played a local derby against Everton which is a really tough game and lost that. That's the nature of the Premier League. We want to just try and win games.'

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