Premier League

Lampard thankful for Benitez reign

Europa League winners Chelsea and Lampard were rejuvenated under Benitez.
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Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard believes Rafa Benitez did all that could be expected of him during his difficult period in charge of the club.

The former Liverpool boss received a frosty reception from the fans when he was appointed interim manager partway through the season when Roberto di Matteo left.

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But the Spaniard confounded his critics by taking the Stamford Bridge club to Europa League glory and guiding them to third place in the Barclays Premier League.

Lampard, whose form under Benitez was rewarded with a one-year contract extension, told the Sun: "He's a professional bloke. He prepared very well for games. And it was a difficult situation for him as well. As interim manager it was always going to be quite difficult because we all knew it was only to the end of the season.

"So there was no planning, no long-term relationships were going to be built. So, in that respect, he did a good job because we got the end result - success."

Despite that, though, Lampard did not grow close to Benitez on a personal level.

"There are certain managers you build relationships with and feel closer to," Lampard said. "He's not that kind of bloke.

"Other managers draw a bit of a line and keep it that way. Rafa's more like that.

"He was not really the sort of manager you could sit and talk with."

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