Lampard targets record goals haul

FRANK LAMPARD believes he can smash another 20 goals from Chelsea’s midfield this season after enjoying a new lease of life in Carlo Ancelotti’s ‘diamond’ formation.

Lampard has scored 100 goals in his past five seasons at Chelsea but looks even more threatening behind two strikers rather than just the customary one.

The midfielder believes he could break his personal best of 21 for a campaign this term due to Ancelotti’s new system.

“Playing behind Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, who make so many runs and moves, causes such a problem for the back four that you can run in behind them,” said Lampard.

“People will be so worried about those two that if I make those late runs behind them then hopefully I will get the opportunities to score more.

“I won’t be doing tricks behind the front men, that is not the way I play. I will probably give a little more defensively to the team than other players do in that position, but at the same time I think I can create and score more than I have done in the past years. I am very happy to play there.”

Lampard was on target against Manchester United in their Community Shield victory on penalties at Wembley on Sunday.

The England midfielder’s goal put Chelsea 2-1 up in the 70th minute but it was shrouded in controversy.

Michael Ballack appeared to elbow United left-back Patrice Evra as he broke up an attack but referee Chris Foy failed to award Alex Ferguson’s side a free-kick.

Instead, Drogba broke through United’s defence before passing to Lampard to score with Evra still lying hurt on the ground.

Asked if he felt he should have kicked the ball out rather than trying to score, Lampard said: “I don’t think any player would, you’re entitled to shoot.

“That’s what United did in the first half, but the referee stopped them and when Ballack went down in the second half they were complaining that they couldn’t carry on.”

Nani gave United a first-half lead before leaving the action later on with a dislocated shoulder, but Ricardo Carvalho and Lampard put Chelsea in control until Wayne Rooney fired a last-minute equaliser.

But the sight of Drogba, who has just signed a two-year contract extension, running through United’s defence was enough to convince Lampard that Chelsea will be more of a threat in the title race this season.

The England midfielder was also buoyed by captain John Terry’s decision to reject Manchester City’s interest in him.

“Didier has signed his new deal and is staying with us,” said Lampard. “He is as good a signing as you’ll get anywhere, along with John Terry.

“It was important John stayed. He’s a big player for us and no one wants to lose huge players.

“When Drogba plays like that, no one wants to play against him. He’s powerful, quick, strong and scores goals. He is one of the best about and still will be for a few years.

“I think we’re ready to go and we have learned a few lessons from last year. A couple of things went wrong in mid-season and we don’t want that to happen this year. The form we showed under Guus Hiddink in the last five or six months of last season would have won us the league and more.

“It showed what we can do and it is very important as players that we perform to that level.”

Goalkeeper Petr Cech was the hero for the Blues when he saved from Ryan Giggs and Evra as Chelsea won the penalty shoot-out 4-1.

Chelsea scored all of their spot-kicks from Lampard, Drogba, Ballack and Salomon Kalou and Cech paid tribute to their calmness.

“We showed a great reaction taking the penalties – calmly and perfectly,” said Cech. “All credit to the penalty takers because they did really well.

“We knew we needed to concentrate on the shoot-out and we showed great character going into the penalties.

“It is good to start the season like that against one of the main contenders for the title.

“It is always a good start to the season when you win the first trophy. It is a positive start for everyone.”

* ENOCH SHOWUNMI headed home a 54th minute winner as Leeds United beat Coca-Cola League Two side Darlington 1-0 in the first round of the Carling Cup last night.

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