Having become the club’s all-time highest scorer courtesy of a brace in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Villa Park, Frank Lampard spoke further about working towards the target, about the man he overtook and about this week’s Europa League final.
His second-half double secured us a precious three points and all but guaranteed our place in the top four, but it was the personal achievement which continues to dominate the headlines.
‘It’s a bit surreal, to actually sit at the top in terms of goals, I can’t quite get my head around it,’ Lampard said.
‘Having edged towards it recently, and with the season coming to an end, I did want to do it this season, so I’m really delighted.
‘I’ve had some great moments at this club. Bolton when we won the league for the first time, Munich was probably the greatest, but on a personal note, and the fact these were important goals for the club to get us into the Champions league for next year it was amazing.’
Lampard’s standing in the game is such that after breaking the record he was afforded an ovation from both sets of supporters at Villa Park as he left the field of play.
‘I’ve tried not to think about it but the fans have been brilliant, almost willing me to do it, and in some ways that increases the pressure,’ explained the 34-year-old. ‘I can only thank people for doing that now I’ve done it. I didn’t think it would move outside of the Chelsea bubble but it has done.
‘When you’re young and fans boo you maybe give them a little look back, but when you get a bit older you don’t get into all that nonsense so much, so it was a really nice thing to have done for me.’
To score 203 goals for one club is undoubtedly a remarkable feat for any player, but what makes Lampard’s achievement all the more impressive is the fact he plays in midfield.
His ability to arrive in the penalty area from deep has become a trademark down the years, and it was showcased in emphatic fashion with the winning goal on Saturday. The player believes he is simply reaping the rewards for the work he puts in on the training ground.
‘I’m very fortunate in the fact I had great parents. My dad in a football sense put that work ethic into me and it’s kept me fit,’ said Lampard. ‘I’ve felt fit this year and I had the ability to get into the six-yard box for the second goal.
‘I’ve worked hard on my finishing in training and I think once I put those things together and go out to play, this sort of stuff can happen, and I’ve been fortunate enough to do it over such a period of time.’
The victory over Aston Villa, coupled with Lampard making history, ensured the Chelsea supporters heading back to the capital had plenty to smile about. On a more disappointing note, though, injuries sustained late in the game by both John Terry and Eden Hazard may mean the duo miss Wednesday’s Europa League final against Benfica in Amsterdam.
For the skipper, it would be a particularly cruel blow after he was forced to sit out last season’s Champions League final through suspension, as Lampard acknowledged.
‘I’m gutted for him because I know what it meant to him to miss last season’s final, even though he turned up and supported the team brilliantly,’ he said. ‘Whatever we do it’s as a club and as long as John’s here he’s part of it.
‘It won’t soften the blow for him, he’ll be frustrated not to be involved if the ankle is as bad as it looks, but we win things together. That’s what we did last year and hopefully it will be the same this year.
‘Knowing John, he will be there and he’ll be with the lads. Of course we’ll miss his influence, in the modern day you can’t think of many captains that have surpassed what he’s done in terms of what he’s won.
‘He’s captained his country and he’s a real leader. Leaders have to affect players around them, they have to pick players up in hard moments and John’s done all of that and more, so we’ll miss that certainly if he’s not involved.’
When the team return back from Amsterdam later this week, Lampard will once again meet the man whose record he finally broke, Bobby Tambling, whom he spoke to over the phone after Saturday’s game.
‘Bobby and his wife have been a huge support to me throughout, Kerry Dixon as well, the two players I’ve managed to jump over.
‘Bobby’s an absolute gentleman, he supports me from afar and he’s coming over this week for our Player of the Year dinner.
‘I’m looking forward to sitting down and having a beer or a glass of wine and having a proper chat with him for half an hour because he’s supported me all the way. I couldn’t have beaten a better man.’