Chelsea saw their Premier League title dream die in a 0-0 draw with Norwich City that may have represented a curtain call for three of the club’s greatest players.
Following the final whistle of Sunday’s game — Chelsea’s last home fixture of the campaign — Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and John Terry took part in a ‘lap of appreciation’ at Stamford Bridge with their team-mates.
All three players will be out of contract at the end of the season and there was a hint of poignancy in their waves to the crowd, while they also posed for photographs together. The trio became Chelsea stalwarts during manager Jose Mourinho’s first stint in charge, and the Portuguese responded evasively when asked if they had played their last home games for the club.
“They are with the club on their future,” he said. “Now is the time to wait a little bit. The summer is a long summer, for us. For the media with the World Cup, it’s a different story. But for the club it’s a long time, to be calm and sit and discuss and analyse the options and the market and the possibilities.”
Lampard, 35, is Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer and Terry, 33, is the club’s most decorated captain, while 33-year-old Cole was first-choice left-back until losing his place to Cesar Azpilicueta.
Not good enough
Mourinho has repeatedly complained about the lack of proven goal-scorers in his squad and he said that Sunday’s game only served to emphasise Chelsea’s need for a new striker.
“Our strikers are good strikers but our players lack some specific qualities. They are not the kind who, with five square metres and three or four people around, can dribble and find the space to shoot.”