Pellegrini keen to keep Lampard as loan ends

Pellegrini keen to keep Lampard as loan ends

LEICESTER - Manuel Pellegrini has set his sights on keeping Frank Lampard at Manchester City beyond his current loan spell with the Premier League champions.

Pellegrini's side overcame bottom club Leicester City thanks to Lampard's 175th Premier League goal, five minutes before half-time in Saturday's 1-0 win at Leicester.

The former Chelsea midfielder has now scored six goals since joining City on loan from Major League Football (MLS) side New York City in pre-season, and Pellegrini would dearly love to keep the influential 36-year-old at Eastlands for a larger portion of the season.

But, with his loan due to expire next month, there has been no decision on Lampard's future yet.

"Lampard is very important, one of the reasons he played today was that it was important to refresh the team," Pellegrini said.

"Lampard was very useful for us during that moment. He is a top player, he must continue scoring goals, he is great inside the box.

"We know exactly what we must do. Lampard wants to stay, we want to keep him. We must resolve the problem with New York City and with the MLS."

Whether he stays or not, Lampard's presence will be especially important for City over the next two weeks as Pellegrini battles with a growing injury list heading into the hectic Christmas programme, with his team three points behind leaders Chelsea.

Bosnia striker Edin Dzeko suffered a calf problem in the warm-up and was unable to start against Leicester, while Belgium defender Vincent Kompany was hit by a recurrence of his nagging hamstring strain in the second half at the King Power Stadium.

The double setback adds to City's injury problems and leaves Pellegrini short in the attacking department, with strikers Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic already sidelined.

"It's difficult to know what happened with both Kompany and Dzeko," said Pellegrini.

"Kompany was faced with the same problem in his hamstring a few weeks ago.

"That was one of the reasons he did not play on Wednesday against Roma. Dzeko has a muscle injury in his calf so maybe both will be (out for) more than a couple of weeks.

"It is impossible that Kompany and Dzeko will be ready before the new year.

"It's difficult because we have to play a lot of games. But I can never complain about the players who cannot play."

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