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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 29 February, 2020

Life after Lamps: Benitez defends decision to cut Frank loose

“You have to move forward,” says the interim boss at Stamford Bridge.

Benched: Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez (front) and  player Frank Lampard.
Benched: Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez (front) and player Frank Lampard.
Image: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire/Press Association Images

CHELSEA INTERIM MANAGER Rafa Benitez has backed the decision not to offer contract extensions to Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard.

The England internationals look set to depart west London when their deals expire in June, but Benitez insists that the club must move on, and look to bring fresh talent to the side, if they are to maintain their recent success.

“I think it’s always easy to talk about the legends, and you have to have a lot of respect for them,” Benitez told reporters.

“What they’ve achieved for this club has been fantastic. But you have to have new players — English or foreign, it doesn’t matter — and carry on winning games. That’s what the fans are expecting.

“Everyone knows the legends have been here and what they have achieved, but you have to see new players coming. It’s part of life.”

Lampard was an integral part of the Chelsea side that secured a first league title in 50 years under Jose Mourinho, scoring the title-winning goal at Bolton in 2004-05. Benitez admitted that he would try to use all of the 93-cap England international’s experience to help the club’s inexperienced starlets, but is keen to see the Blues’ future built upon the younger crop of talent.

“The good thing about English football is that you have good memories and you respect people who achieve something for a club,” he said. ”That’s very positive. But, at the same time, you have to think about the future. You cannot be waiting.

“You have to move forward, bring in new players and try to bring the best out of those you have. You have to use their experience, too.”

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