• Premier League

Chelsea rest Lampard ahead of City game

ESPN staff
February 20, 2013

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Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez has revealed Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic will sit out Thursday's Europa League clash with Sparta Prague - with one eye firmly on the Premier League clash with Manchester City at the weekend.

The Blues take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of their clash at Stamford Bridge this week and, given the number of games his players have had to contend with in recent months, Benitez has opted to rest the pair.

He said Oriol Romeu was the only injury absentee but said he would not include Lampard and Ivanovic as he sought to avoid burnout.

"It's important to be fit, it's important to train properly and it's important to adapt so I have to manage the squad," he said. "If I say this it will sound like, you know, 'he is making excuses' but we've played so many games - just three months and 25 games."

He added: "Frank has been playing a lot of games. Managing the squad means we can keep fresh legs on the pitch."

Chelsea have an important Premier League game away to City on Sunday, and defender Gary Cahill is determined to secure positive results in both games.

"We've got a huge game tomorrow night and then a massive game on Sunday," he said. "A positive result on Sunday opens that back up, but one game at a time. That will be a tough game away from home but a positive result puts second place in touching distance.

"We know our targets for what we have to do to be in the [Champions League] next year. Now we're out it's important we are in it next year - that's the main aim for us in the league this season."

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