Lampard relishes regular football
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has attributed his rich vein of form to playing twice a week amid ongoing uncertainty over his future at Stamford Bridge.
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8. Frank Lampard
There have been contradictory reports over whether Blues owner Roman Abramovich is prepared to offer Lampard a new contract to extend his 12-year stay beyond the end of the season.
But while that issue rumbles on, the 34-year-old has enjoyed an impressive run in front of goal, including netting in each of his last four games. He struck his 27th goal in 94 England appearances last week with the winner against Brazil and also scored against Wigan on Saturday, taking his Blues tally to 198 and within four of the club's goalscoring record.
The goal against the Latics was his ninth in his last 14 Chelsea appearances as he has found his form after missing the whole of November with a calf problem.
"It's not rocket science: the more you play you get sharper and you get match fit," Lampard told Chelsea TV. "Since I've been able to play regularly I feel like I've got sharpness and the confidence.
"I'm 34, you still need confidence of playing regular games. It certainly helps me, to get flow in your game; you ask any player that, I'm not on my own there.
"When you're playing regularly and you do start playing well, scoring goals, whatever position you're in, it's enjoyable to keep playing and it helps.
"You have to have an eye on the squad - it is a long season - so I'm not expecting, or asking, to play every single game.
"(But) it seems to me recently I've been able to play every three or four days, I've enjoyed it."
Blues interim boss Rafael Benitez believes Lampard is capable of continuing at the highest level to the 2014 World Cup, should England qualify and should he avoid injury.
Benitez has options returning to his squad following injuries and suspensions, plus the African Nations Cup which Chelsea duo Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel won with Nigeria, but Lampard will surely continue to be a key player.
Chelsea are entering a busy period, with the Europa League last-32 matches against Sparta Prague either side of a FA Cup fourth-round replay with Brentford and before a Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City.
Lampard is relishing the prospect of numerous games in swift succession, because it means success is possible for Chelsea.
The Blues began the season in contention for seven trophies, but after their defence of the Champions League ended and they fell off the Premier League title pace - the Blues sit third, 16 points behind leaders Manchester United with 12 games to play - only the Europa League and FA Cup are realistically winnable.
Lampard said: "We're fit enough (to play twice a week). We manage ourselves in training.
"We need to enjoy it. At the minute the season hasn't been successful.
"We should be challenging for titles rather than third or fourth, but we're not.
"And we've not won some cups, we've been knocked out.
"We have to grab the fact that there's a lot of games to play and we have to try to win something."
Lampard's strike against Wigan saw him inch closer towards Bobby Tambling's club goalscoring record of 202.
"I'm just pleased to keep chipping away," Lampard added.
"I'm just trying to keep my head down and help the team. If it comes it comes."