Football: Chelsea's interim chief Rafa Benitez is keen for his side to reach the final of the League Cup at the expense of tomorrow night's opponents Swansea, but remained coy on the future of midfielder Frank Lampard.
The 34-year-old’s contract with the Blues expires this summer but despite growing speculation over Lampard’s future, with some reports even mooting a summer move to Manchester United, Benitez would not be drawn on the issue.
“I think it’s too early to talk about teams and the future,” the Spaniard said.
“Frank is under contract and playing for us. That’s it.
“My position is exactly the same and if he can carry on scoring goals, I will be really pleased.”
Lampard is set to feature in tomorrow night's semi-final first leg and Benitez, who is once again without skipper John Terry as well as Petr Cech, Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel, added: “We know it is the semi-final and we will try to be in the final.
“We have a lot of respect for Swansea because it is a good team and they are doing well, but this will be an interesting game for the fans.”
Tomorrow kicks off a period of eight games in 25 days for Chelsea, which will test Benitez’s squad to the maximum.
Reports of January reinforcements are rife, although it is believed that the deal for Metalist Kharkiv midfielder Taison was on the verge of collapse today.
“You know and we know we will see a lot of names in the newspapers,” Benitez said.
“It is normal in the transfer market but for us we just concentrate on football and playing Swansea.”
Meanwhile Swans boss Michael Laudrup is hoping that his side will flourish away from home in tomorrow's first-leg.
The Swans, who have never reached a Wembley final, boast a superb record at home in the Premier League this term and Laudrup is excited about the prospect of being able to bring the Blues back to south Wales with the tie still in the balance.
He said: “I always preferred being away first in these games. I have done both as a manager and a player and if I had to choose I would prefer to play away first. The different thing is it is not a complete game, it is only the first half and we play the second half here in two weeks’ time.”
The Dane, who is set to start goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel along with Pablo Hernandez, Ashley Williams and Michu, added: “It is difficult to play a game when you know you have another one to come, but we know it is important to get a result so we can play the second leg here in front of our fans with the possibility to go through.
“To beat Chelsea in one game is difficult, over two games it is even more difficult.
“But we have to give it a try, and we will give it a try.”
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