Manuel Pellegrini has hit out at Chelsea fans who are unhappy with Frank Lampard’s decision to join Manchester City on loan.
The England international enjoyed 13 hugely successful years at Stamford Bridge, during which time he played an instrumental part in winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, a UEFA Europa League and, perhaps most famously of all, the 2012 UEFA Champions League. He also ensured his name would forever by etched in the club’s history by becoming their all-time top goalscorer.
However, when Lampard’s contract expired this summer, he was not offered fresh terms and, after claiming it would be hard for him to play for another club in England, he left for New York City. The recently-formed American side are the sister club of Manchester City, who recently managed to persuade the 36-year-old midfielder to link up with them on loan until the MLS season begins in March.
This hasn’t gone down well with many Chelsea fans, who are disappointed that one of their all-time greats is now set to face them in the colours of a side who won the title last season and are more than likely to be in the race again this term. However, City coach Pellegrini has advised the Stamford Bridge faithful to take a reality check, particularly as Lampard was no longer wanted by Jose Mourinho and co.
“He was a free player so I also don’t understand the reaction of Chelsea fans who say he is a traitor because he is not at Chelsea,” Pellegrini said. “The problem was not that Frank Lampard didn’t want to sign another contract with Chelsea, Chelsea didn’t want him anymore. He wants to continue playing and is very important for our team.”
Lampard could come face-to-face with his former club as early as next month, with Chelsea scheduled to visit the Etihad Stadium in the sixth game of the new campaign. And before he heads off on his American adventure with his parent club, he could make an emotional return to Stamford Bridge at the end of January.