London: Few Chelsea fans would have begrudged Frank Lampard his farewell Premier League cameo at Manchester City but the goodwill is starting to dissipate after he scored another goal to keep his new club in the title hunt.
On Wednesday, Chelsea`s all-time record scorer Lampard tied up the deal that extends his loan from New York City to Manchester City until the end of the season and 24 hours later he showed exactly why Manuel Pellegrini was so keen to keep him.
The league champions, for the second time in four days, had blown a 2-0 lead in front of their own fans, this time against Sunderland, and were in danger of again handing the initiative to leaders Chelsea who were in action later.
Lampard, who had been on the pitch for three minutes, then stepped up to the plate yet again, meeting a Gael Clichy cross with a firm header in the 73rd minute to earn a 3-2 lead which they held to the end to take them level on points with his former club.
It was the 36-year-old`s fifth league goal, and seventh in all, in a season where he has started most games on the bench but where his calmness and experience is becoming increasingly important.
"Nobody can be surprised with Frank Lampard," Pellegrini told reporters. "He is a top player with a huge amount of important goals in his career.
"When you use him in the second half, when players are tired, he knows exactly where to go and how to move. I always said we would try to keep him for the rest of the season, it was not an easy decision but Frank is very happy to stay here and we need him here."
While City fans are delighted to have the former England midfielder, supporters of the club`s American franchise are not so impressed, with one group "publicly denouncing" his decision to stay until the end of the season.
"We reject out of hand any suggestion NYCFC is in any way secondary to Manchester City FC and are disappointed City Football Group would give such an appearance," supporters` group the Third Rail said in a statement.
Pellegrini had some sympathy.
"I understand. To see Lampard in New York is an amazing thing," he said.