Lampard, stand-in captain after John Terry had been carried off with what appeared at the time to be a serious head injury, received a yellow card for his altercation with the Arsenal midfielder.

The ensuing unsavoury brawl, which saw both managers run on to the Millennium Stadium pitch in order to try to calm the situation, was sparked by Mikel Jon Obi's challenge on Arsenal captain Kolo Toure.

The Arsenal player reacted violently to Mikel's tackle even though referee Howard Webb had awarded a free-kick to the Gunners.

But as they squared up to each other, the fighting spilled over into other areas of the pitch with Lampard and Fabregas involved in an ugly confrontation.

Once the situation had been brought under control, Webb red-carded both Toure and Mikel as well as Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor.

Adebayor was harshly adjudged to have been dismissed when substitute Emmanuel Eboue was clearly seen to strike Chelsea left-back Wayne Bridge.

But his refusal to leave the playing area when ordered to do so by Webb may yet see the striker face further punishment from the Football Association who are also likely to consider charging both clubs with failing to control their players.

But Lampard insists that he only did what he felt was right in order to help out his colleagues.

He declared: "People talked about the Carling Cup a few years ago and criticised the fact that teams don't want to win it but this was a game both teams wanted to win.

"However much you want to criticise what happened at the end and say it should not happen, and this and that, we should all be happy it was a great battle.

"You back your team-mate up, it is as simple as that. Then it escalated from there. I get disappointed when red cards get brandished but as I say, you back your team-mate up and it escalates.

"Maybe when I sit down tonight I will probably say I wish it hadn't got that far. But when you are in the heat of the moment, it does go that far.

"So, it happened. I was surprised to see the manager on the pitch but he was quick though, wasn't he?

"You back your team up and I suppose the managers back their players. It was a moment when you have to show restraint and I think I showed enough restraint not to get a red card."

The FA will almost certainly view video evidence of the brawl but may feel that the quick intervention of the managers was sufficient to prevent any further punishment.

However, they still have to deal with Adebayor's situation and may decide to rescind his red card and charge team-mate Eboue instead.

He lashed out at Bridge and sent the England defender sprawling - an action which went completely unnoticed by Webb and his assistants.

Bridge is adamant Webb got the wrong man and says he can fully understand Adebayor's frustration at being red-carded.

The Chelsea defender said: "The referee sent the wrong man off. I can understand his (Adebayor) frustration at getting sent off. There must have been a mix-up between the ref and his linesman."

Meanwhile Lampard collected the trophy in the absence of Terry, who is understood to have swallowed his tongue and lost consciousness after receiving a kick in the head from Arsenal's Abou Diaby.

But the England captain checked out of hospital and returned to the stadium to join in the celebrations after two goals from Ivorian hitman Didier Drogba sealed their second Carling Cup triumph inside three years.

Arsenal's young guns had gone ahead in the 11th minute thanks to a lofted effort from 17-year-old England winger Theo Walcott - his first goal for the club.

But Drogba took his tally to 28 for the season with an equaliser in the 20th minute and a trophy-winning header from a cross by Arjen Robben five minutes from time.

Lampard, a close friend of Terry, revealed the full horror of the defender's injury as the medics battled for five minutes to bring him round.

Lampard said: "He looked very bad. He was out cold but his eyes were flickering a little bit.

"It is not as bad as it could have been. It is not nice to see and there is panic, especially after the last couple of weeks when John has been playing with an ankle that is bad. You feel for his safety first and foremost.

"These things can stick in your mind and that is the worrying thing. It is easy with hindsight but we got the news just after the game that he was okay and on his way back.

"Unfortunately he couldn't be there with us for the celebrations on the pitch. We gave him a great reception when he came back but he is one of us and we would have probably done that for anyone.

"People talk about John, myself and Didier as individuals but we are a group. Whoever had got knocked out and then come back would have got a reception. That is what we are all about."