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By ESPN Staff
May 22, 2008

Lampard ready to open contract talks

Frank Lampard is to open fresh talks with Chelsea over a new contract at the club after England's friendly internationals.

Fabio Capello's side take on USA at Wembley and then travel to play Trinidad and Tobago on June 1.

England midfielder Lampard revealed he will discuss a new deal to keep him at Stamford Bridge on his return.

Lampard's current contract expires next summer and talks over a long-term extension were put on hold for the duration of last season.

But following Chelsea's dramatic penalty shoot-out heartbreak against Manchester United in the Champions League final on Wednesday night, Lampard is confident a deal can be agreed.

'I have got to talk to the club,' said Lampard. 'My contract has obviously been the last thing on my mind in the last six weeks, but I will sit down and talk with them after the England games.

'I hope we can come to a conclusion. I am pretty confident we can. I have said that many times before.' But Lampard insists the club will continue to progress irrespective of who is in charge of the side.

The position of coach Avram Grant came under the spotlight yet again after their failure to beat United. But Lampard says the club must come first.

'At the end of the day what is important is that the club moves forward whatever happens with the personnel,' said Lampard. 'We've given it everything this year and it wasn't quite to be.

'But the strength of a club is how you return when you have that little knock back.'

Lampard has revealed he tried desperately to alleviate John Terry's penalty pain after the Chelsea captain's spot-kick blunder cost the Blues their first Champions League triumph.

'John cares as much, if not more, as anyone at the club,' said Lampard. 'He is Mr Chelsea through and through.

'He is the sort of character you want in the team next to you and I like to see someone care like that. I have been through it in the World Cup and I know how much it hurts.

'I just tried to tell John that it is a game of football. I can probably speak better than anyone about that at the moment. It is a game of football and there are more important things. That's what I said to him.'

Lampard is convinced Terry will bounce back from his penalty setback just as he himself did after missing a penalty for England in the shoot-out against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final.

'I know from my own experience when you are in that position what people say to you doesn't quite go in,' said Lampard.

'But he is a strong man. It will be a frustrating summer for him because he cares so much. That is how it should be because he wants to win and he is strong. He will come back even stronger.

'It is disappointing because it was within our grasp and then John slipped. But take nothing away from John because he had the balls to stand up and take it. As a centre-half, not many would take the last penalty.

'We picked the penalty takers off the cuff. People were asked the question whether they were happy or not. John was happy to take the fifth because that is the sort of man he is.

'It was all working fine until he slipped. I would have put my house on John normally because he is a character. If he hadn't slipped he would have scored.

'It is frustrating because you work so hard to get to a Champions League final, you are the better team and then a slip like that and it all turns.'

Lampard was adamant the better side lost and is frustrated that people will forget their performance when they look in the history books.

'We hit the woodwork twice and it is very frustrating because that won't be remembered too much,' said Lampard. 'After the first half-hour, we were the better team.

'You have to hold your hands up and say credit to Manchester United because they've won it and that is what everyone will remember. When you sit back and assess everything we will have pride in our performance.

'I think we will be back. We are a strong unit and we showed that. When we believe in ourselves and play the football we can, I don't think many can live with us - even Manchester United.

'When we played our football after half-an-hour I thought only one team was going to win it. We take pride in that but they have got the medals, so that is a frustration.'

Now Lampard says Chelsea will acknowledge their achievements this season but still look improve the squad.

'This season, even though we have come away with nothing, has not been a failure,' he insisted. 'We've come within an inch of winning the Champions League and pushed all the way in the league.

'It has been a difficult season, as the season before was. Now it is very important that Chelsea, as a club, realise what we have done and improve that little bit more to get back to winning ways.'

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