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Feb, 23, 2009

Lampard: I owe Ranieri for improving my game

Frank Lampard has said that he owes former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri a debt of gratitude for bringing him to Stamford Bridge and can't wait to meet him again when Juventus visit in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Ranieri returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time since departing in 2004 and Lampard is ready to greet him with open arms, despite wanting to upset the Italian's day and get an important win.

"It'll be very special to see Claudio again. I love the man," Lampard told The Sun. "If it wasn't for Claudio I might not be where I am now. He brought me to the club, improved my game and showed me another side to the game.

"As a West Ham boy I was narrow minded and didn't know the continental style and the way to live my life.

''Claudio brought me to Chelsea and showed me a different way and I've nothing but gratitude for the way he helped me.

"He made John (Terry) captain at a young age, signed William Gallas and Petr Cech. He took us to the Champions League semi-final and was a huge part of what we went on to achieve.

"No one's got a bad word to say about him here, which shows you what a good man he is. I'm very pleased at how well he's done at Juventus."

But Lampard admits it will all change once the game kicks off.

"It's imperative we get the right result to go out there with," the England midfielder said. "We need to keep the ball and move it quickly as Italian teams can get men behind the wall and make things frustrating. If we take time on the ball we won't be able to break them down. That was the main change I saw in the win at Villa.

"As players we've not been performing to the level we should have been but it's up to us to put that right.

"Guus Hiddink coming in has boosted everyone. We tried to prove ourselves all week in training and carried it on in the game."

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