Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insisted his club did not make a mistake by allowing their former midfielder Frank Lampard to leave Stamford Bridge last summer.
Lampard has emerged as a key figure in Manchester City’s English Premier League title challenge, with his goal in Saturday’s 1-0 league win at Leicester City allowing the defending league champions to stay just three points behind current league-leaders Chelsea.
He also scored the equalising goal for the Etihad Stadium outfit when the current top two played each other at City in September in the league, but Mourinho has stressed that his desire to move the club forward meant the moment was right to bring down the curtain on Lampard’s 13-year Blues career.
“He left Chelsea as a free agent and chooses his life, we can’t complain about it, that’s football,” he told reporters.
“It’s his life, nothing to do with us. We made the right decision.”
“My view is that when you want to look forward, look to the future and have people like (Cesc) Fabregas and (Nemanja) Matic and Jeremie Boga (a midfielder with the under-21s) which are the next 10 years of the club.”
“The project is to prepare for the next 10 years, not for the next year. We made the right decision.”
“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.”
“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.”