Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini hit back at Chelsea fans that branded Frank Lampard a traitor for joining the Premier League champ on a short-term loan after spending 13 successful years at Stamford Bridge. Lampard, 36, completed the six-month loan deal earlier this week that will see him depart for New York City FC when the new MLS club begins play in 2015. NYCFC is part-owned by Manchester City.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s FA Charity Shield against Arsenal, Pellegrini defended Lampard’s decision. “I don’t understand the reaction of Chelsea fans who say he is a traitor,” he said. “The problem was not that Frank Lampard did not want to sign another contract with Chelsea -- Chelsea didn’t want him any more.” The Chilean added that Lampard represents an important signing for his team, especially considering City’s financial constraints due to UEFA’s financial fair play. “He is a competitive player, he will be important for our team and we didn’t spend any money on him, so the rules of financial fair play don’t have any relation with Lampard.”
Pellegrini confirmed that Lampard and seven other City players would not be ready for Sunday’s game; Bacary Sagna, Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Fernandinho, Vincent Kompany and long-term absentee Alvaro Negredo are the others set to miss out.