By FOX SPORTS Staff
Lampard has been an integral cog of the Chelsea machinery ever since he joined the Blues from West Ham in 2001; the goalscoring midfielder, widely regarded as a legend at the club, has led the Stamford Bridge outfit to three Premier League trophies, four FA Cups, and played an important role in their Champions League success last season.
However, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has reportedly decided against offering Lampard an extension to his current contract which expires at the end of the season, with the Russian oligarch preferring to spend his resources on building the next generation of stars for the club.
This news has not sat well with the Chelsea fans, and Mata claimed he could appreciate why many were clamouring for the club to offer veteran midfielder Frank Lampard a new contract.
"I understand why the fans want [Frank] here, the supporters love him," Mata was quoted as saying by the official Chelsea website.
"He is a great guy, a great captain who is a legend, and still playing, so for me and the team-mates it is an honour to play with him.
"He scored already 13 or 14 goals this season, and for 10 years he has been scoring more than 10 in the Premier League. He is one of the best."
Mata and Lampard were instrumental in Chelsea's 4-0 win over Brentford in the fourth round replay of the FA Cup, and the Spanish international believes the Blues have finally turned the corner in their stuttering season.
"In the second half we felt good, scoring four goals," Mata reflected.
"It wasn't easy to win. In the first 45 minutes they defended really well.
"We had two or three chances to score but we didn't. But the most important thing is we won and are into the next round.
"We are in a good moment now. It was a good week for us winning in Prague and winning this game.
"Now we're starting to think about the Europa League again and getting through to the next round."
Mata also praised Oscar for his role in the Blues' win over Brentford and tipped the Brazilian to be a future star.
"Oscar is a great player and his goal against Brentford was wonderful," Mata added.
"He is still 21, very young, and already a very, very good player.
"I feel really pleased to play with him, I'm glad because he is a great guy as well."
A string of disappointing results prior to their win over Brentford had put interim manager Rafael Benitez under intense scrutiny, but Mata believes their dominant victory had helped ease the pressure on the former Valencia boss and claimed that the 52-year-old tactician had the support of everyone in the dressing room.
"Rafa is the manager, we are all with him supporting him," Mata declared.
"The manager, staff, supporters and players all want the same, winning trophies, and we are here to win."
With Chelsea are set to meet Middlesbrough in the fifth round of the FA Cup, Mata revealed that he was excited at being able to take on a club that he had heard so much about.
"I know about Middlesbrough, because a very important player, Gaizka Mendieta, played there," Mata admitted.
"It's a new stadium that I am going to play at, so it's good.
"The FA Cup is always good because we have the chance to know different places."
Chelsea's next fixture sees them take on Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday.