Benitez hails Lampard after positive influence in Swansea win
Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez praised the influence of Frank Lampard after the midfielder proved the catalyst in their 2-0 victory against Swansea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Lampard – who is yet to have his future at the club confirmed beyond the end of the season - entered the fray as a 24th minute substitute for the injured Ramires and played a part in both Chelsea's goals.
After laying on Oscar's opener, the England international converted from the penalty spot and Benitez paid tribute to his continued influence as he drew within one goal of Bobby Tambling's club goalscoring record.
"Frank is a great player," Benitez told reporters. "I'm really pleased he's scored another goal and I hope he can score five between now and the end of the season, so he will be even happier and we will be the same.
"He was important for us, and has quality so that when you have possession, he can have influence.
"He's a great professional and he's really focused. He would like to play more games, but he knows it's about the team first, so he's OK."
The win against Swansea saw Chelsea strengthen their grip on a top-four Premier League finish, leaving them three points above fifth-placed rivals Tottenham with four games remaining.
"Always to win is good," Benitez added. "To score two goals, a clean sheet, at this stage of the season with so many games, and to play good football in attack as we did – I'm really pleased.
"We could have scored the third goal and we didn't, and we could see Swansea were a threat occasionally in between the lines, but in the end to get three points in this way is pleasing.
Benitez's counterpart Michael Laudrup was also quick to credit Lampard in the aftermath of his side's defeat and acknowledged that age was not holding the former West Ham player back.
"Quality is quality," Laudrup said. "When you have it, you will always have it. Even if we don't want to admit it, we all get older.
"Sometimes the pace goes and you can't do exactly the same things, but the quality's always there.
"Frank Lampard's quality has always been coming from the second line into the box. He's so difficult to mark, and that's why he's scored so many goals.
"For the first 40 minutes it was a game without too many chances. Chelsea are a great team with great players, but I didn't think we suffered for the first 40 minutes.
"But then five crazy minutes and two goals changed the game completely. We came back into the game in the second half.
"Sometimes that's the difference, and when you play against Chelsea, they have the individual skill that can change the game out of nothing."