Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has defended the decision not to offer Frank Lampard the chance to stay at the club in light of his move to Premier League champions Manchester City, Sources have reported.
Lampard’s stay at Stamford Bridge ended in summer 2014, 13 years after he moved to Chelsea from West Ham. He played 649 times for the Blues and scored 211 goals, becoming Chelsea’s all-tine record goal scorer, but was allowed to leave when his contract expired.
The former England midfielder initially signed with MLS side New York City FC, a sister club to Manchester City, but was confirmed as joining the English City on loan shortly after. Lampard’s stay is due to end in December but there has been speculation Manuel Pellegrini wants to extend the terms of the move.
Lampard scored for City against Leicester on Saturday, his sixth goal of the season, and netted against Chelsea earlier in the campaign, but Mourinho has no regrets over allowing him to move on.
“The project is to prepare for the next 10 years, not the next year – we made the right decision,” the Portuguese has insisted. “You can argue ‘You have John Terry and Didier Drogba’. Different. Drogba is a striker that is coming to help and support the team,
“John Terry is the best central defender in English football and it doesn’t matter how old he is,” Mourinho continued. “The nucleus of the team has to be developed and to have a big player like Frank we would stop the development of the other guys.”
Chelsea currently top the table by three points from City, the teams drawing 1-1 when they met at the Etihad Stadium in September. Andre Schurrle put Chelsea in front in the second half before Lampard levelled five minutes from time.