• Premier League

Benitez expects Lampard & Cole to leave

ESPN staff
November 23, 2012

Rafael Benitez has revealed he expects Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole to leave Chelsea in the summer.

Benitez has signed a short-term contract at Stamford Bridge and has adopted a squad that boasts several players with uncertain futures.

Both Cole and Lampard are yet to clarify what their careers hold when their contracts expire, with Cole so far only offered a one-year deal amid reported interest from PSG and Manchester United. Lampard has not received a fresh offer and has been linked with moves to China or the US.

Asked if he believes the players, both Champions League winners, will leave in the summer, Benitez said in the Guardian: "I think so.

"I don't have all the information and it's not fair to tell me I'm only here for seven months and then expect me to have an influence at the club over the next two or three years, but I think that's the case at the moment."

Lampard is currently Chelsea's third highest goalscorer, and has contributed heavily to three league titles, four FA Cups and a Champions League triumph. Cole's trophy haul is also impressive, with one league title, four FA Cups and a Champions League to his name.

Benitez claims he does not enjoy mind games, but that did not stop him taking part in them during his first Friday press conference as he placed Arsene Wenger ahead of Sir Alex Ferguson as a manager.

On his first full day in the Chelsea job, the Spaniard was greeted with a typical barb from his old sparring partner Ferguson, who claimed he was "lucky" to be in a position to win a second Club World Cup.

Benitez, however, responded by talking about how he ranked Wenger above the Manchester United manager when he first came to England, and that any such comments were only in reply to other managers "pushing him".

"No, I don't enjoy that [mind games]. I enjoy my team playing well and winning games. I have to defend my team, my club, so I cannot wait while they push and push," Benitez said.

"You're playing to win trophies, and only one can win it. Some managers in the middle of the table can be friendly, but only one wins it. People try to win in different ways. I like to respect people, but sometimes I cannot because they push you...

"There are a lot of good managers in the world, many who have won trophies. I don't like to talk about other managers.

"When I came to England I knew the other managers. Arsene Wenger was the best manager who had been here for a while. But I cannot talk about these things every day."

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