Friend turned foe

Frank Lampard, now a Manchester City player, rated his home debut as surreal after scoring against his former club Chelsea to end their 100 per cent record in the EPL this season.

The English Premier League continues to produce moments of drama which would now be out of place in a comic book or film script and Frank Lampard’s equaliser against Chelsea can be added to the list.

The Manchester City midfielder rated his home debut as surreal after scoring against his former club Chelsea to end their 100 percent record in the EPL this season.

The 36-year-old, the Stamford Bridge side’s all-time record goal-scorer, came off the bench to cancel out Andre Schurrle’s 71st-minute goal after Pablo Zabaleta had been sent off for a second bookable offence.

His appearance off the bench brought cheers from the visiting supporters but it was the home fans celebrating at the final whistle as they rescued a point.

“It is completely surreal,” said Lampard. “The way the game was going City didn’t deserve to lose the game but for me to come on and get that reaction from my old club and the reaction from the home fans left me in a whirlwind. It was a pretty special day.

“Had it not been against Chelsea there would have been a bit more excitement on my face (when he scored) but after 13 years there the reception I got throughout those years and when I came on I am not going to react another way.

“When the dust settles I can reflect on this and say it was a good day as no one lost and we fight on now in a very close Premier League.”

City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes Lampard’s experience can only benefit his side. “When I spoke with Lampard (about joining City) it was because I was absolutely sure he will be a very useful player for our team,” he said. “He has nothing to do in New York until January when they start the season there. It was very important for him to continue working every day and playing in our team but also it was very important for our team to have a player with the experience and quality of Frank Lampard.”

City captain Vincent Kompany was not surprised by Lampard’s ability to conjure up an equaliser, stating: “Frank brings quality. The goal he scored you would have seen from him for the last 15 years in the Premier League.

“He is clever and still extremely motivated. He brings experience. It is not a word you make up, it is something that helps and it is like his goal: keeping your head cool in a moment when you are under pressure and down to 10 men — how many players would have scored that goal? He has proven it himself in only a few minutes, which is good.”

Lampard will not be around when the title race is settled, with a new life at New York City waiting for him in the new year, but Kompany believes both parties are getting a good deal from his short-term loan arrangement.

“I think it goes both ways. He needed what we can offer him and I think we needed what he can bring to us,” said the Belgian. “If you talk to him I reckon that’s how he sees it as well and his goal was just the icing on the cake. Ultimately you play so many competitions you need all the guys to be there and he is another who will clearly make our team stronger.”

The nature of the Major League Soccer schedule does offer the tantalising prospect of a future return for Lampard, though at 36 this would appear to be his farewell to English football.

Kompany does not know if the chance will come again but has no doubts Lampard is still up to the task.

He added: “That is not for me to judge, I think he has his personal plans as well, but I can base things on what I see day in, day out on the training ground and he is one of the better players."

His stay may not be a long one but City fans can certainly enjoy Lampard while they can.

© PA Sport