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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov, 1, 2007

Grant in dark over new deal for Lampard

Frank Lampard's Chelsea future still appears to be in limbo after coach Avram Grant revealed he was not party to any of the negotiations aimed at keeping the England midfielder at the club.

Lampard, who claimed a hat-trick in the dramatic 4-3 win over Leicester in the Carling Cup fourth round at Stamford Bridge last night, has yet to commit himself to a new long-term deal - sparking fears he will quit the club.

The midfielder bagged his first hat-trick since January with the last-minute winner to kill off battling City and earn holders Chelsea a place in the quarter-finals.

But Grant would not be drawn on the state of play over Lampard's contract which expires in 18 months' time.

Grant said: 'Frank is very important for the team. He likes to do things to a high level that is his target and our target.

'I am not involved in the money situation. They are negotiating and at the end of the day they will find a solution. Frank wants to stay at Chelsea and Chelsea wants Frank.

'Frank says it all the time. It is only negotiating. It is not a football matter.'

Lampard has so far rejected all attempts by Chelsea to persuade him to sign a new contract and time is running out.

Lampard's worth to Chelsea on the football front was clearly evident in their sensational last-gasp victory over a Championship side that, at one stage, threatened to bundle the holders out of the competition.

Late goals from Andriy Shevchenko (87) and Lampard (93) rescued Chelsea after City stormed back to lead 3-2 in the 74th minute.

Grant declared: 'It was a good game. We enjoyed the winning and scoring four goals but we didn't like what happened in the game because we conceded three goals.

'More importantly it showed that we have good character. I have never in my life given up until the last moment even if we are losing 2-0.

'This is football. When we were leading 2-1 we created five chances one-on-one with the goalkeeper. It was fantastic but we should have scored. But that is football.

'We want to score but we don't want one goal scored against us. But it was good football today.

'We played positive football and in the last 10 minutes the players showed they have a big heart and good character and I like that. Sometimes it is more important than other things.

'We want to progress and every game in the last month-and-a-half we have taken lessons from. Andriy's goal was a fantastic one at the right moment and the right time.'

Chelsea fought back to lead 2-1 at the break thanks to a double from Lampard after City captain Gareth McAuley had put the Championship side ahead in the sixth minute.

But two goals in five minutes from Dudley Campbell (69) and Carl Cort (74) put City on course for a shock victory before Chelsea's late finish.

Leicester boss Frank Burrows said Chelsea's class told in the end.

Burrows said: 'They were the better side. The quality of passing was better than ours and they had more possession but our hearts were as big as theirs.

'Where we matched them and maybe shaded them was our heart and fighting spirit. We matched Chelsea there in my opinion.

'Chelsea have not been beaten here for 60-odd games and there have been bigger and better football clubs than Leicester gone away with their tails between their legs.

'To have come so close is a bitter pill to swallow but we have to do that.'

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