Chelsea vice captainFrank Lampard, who recently inked a one-year contract extension with the club, said that Blues fans had every right to treat outgoing interim-coach Rafael Benitez harshly. In an interview with theSun, Lampard pointed out that Benitez made comments criticizing the club and its former manager Jose Mourinho when he was in charge of Liverpool. Therefore, Blues fans were understandably riled up when the Spaniard replaced Roberto Di Matteo in November.
“We know the situation of the manager,” Lampard said. “He was the manager of a rival team and things were said — so there’s that element to it. And I’m not one to take away the right of a man to feel how he feels. They are human beings, the fans.” The Chelsea legend added that he didn’t think Chelsea fans had made the job difficult for Benitez, as some have suggested. “This was a very particular occasion and Chelsea fans have the right to do what they want.”
Regarding his own future, which was uncertain until a few weeks ago, Lampard said the fans’ insistence that the club keep him had a massive impact on the 34-year-old receiving a one-year contract extension. “Their support this season meant a huge amount, they have been absolutely massive for me,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have a great relationship with our fans and I have had that all along here. There’s nothing better…and I will never forget how they have been in this period, supporting me. It has been amazing. It means everything.”
Benitez will remain in charge of Chelsea until the end of the month, after its U.S. tour. After winning the Europa League and finishing third in the Premier League, the Spaniard is in high-demand, and has been heavily linked to Paris Saint-Germain, among other clubs.