Frank Lampard gives verdict of Thomas Tuchel’s reign as Chelsea manager

       

Frank Lampard gives verdict of Thomas Tuchel's reign as Chelsea manager

Frank Lampard won so many medals during his glittering playing career that he forgot where he kept some.

Lampard, 42, won three titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, the Europa League and the Champions League during 13 glorious years at Chelsea and has now been inducted into the Premier League ’s Hall of Fame.

“They’re shoved in a drawer and I actually found one in a shoe recently!” laughed Lampard. “I was cleaning out my shoes and I found one of my Premier League winners’ medals in a shoe.

“So, you can probably tell I’m not huge into displaying my medals. I’m big into what’s next, where do you move on to, and I don’t feel the real need to see so many things around my house.”

That is rather fitting where Lampard is now because, four months after being sacked as Chelsea manager, he is ready for a new challenge and his determination and ambitions burn as brightly now as when they did during his playing days.

Lampard was the best English goal-scoring midfielder of his generation, an integral part of Chelsea’s success under Roman Abramovich and there are so many great memories from his days at Stamford Bridge.

The European glory in 2012 and his goal at Bolton in that first Premier League winning season in 2005 stand out but it was also about the special atmosphere in the dressing room.

The biggest moment and the high was winning the Champions League final and being on the pitch with the fans at the end of that, and Didier Drogba serenading the cup after that in the dressing-room, which people have talked about, was just an incredible moment,” he said.

“Every celebratory moment was great with the fans because it felt like a real connection and that’s one of the most special things when you reflect back that you were part of something that meant so much.”

It is easy to see why Lampard still has a connection with Chelsea fans. He still lives near Stamford Bridge, they were singing his name on the streets during those European Super League protests and, no matter what happened during his reign as manager, he is still a legend.

Perhaps that is why when the chance came to manage Chelsea, even though it was unexpectedly early in his career after just one season in charge at Derby, that he decided to take it. But Lampard insists that it was a decision taken with his head.

“My emotional attachment with the club won’t change for so many reasons,” said Lampard.

“For the reasons that Chelsea fans accepted me as a West Ham boy all those years ago, for the reasons that Roman Abramovich came to the club and made my career by putting me in this amazing squad and turning away from that would be impossible.

“I did see the fans singing. People sent me clips and I saw it. I did wonder after I got sacked how the fans would react, but I am so thankful for that and that’s been the story of me with the Chelsea fans ever since I went there.

I probably could have taken an easier route at the time whatever that was. Maybe stay at Derby, make another small step to a team where there’s not so much expectation, you’re not expected to win every week and I wanted to get the challenge.

I’m not sure if I was to come back to Chelsea at 55 years of age, with titles behind me, I think the rules would be the same. There is an expectation to perform, to win and if you don’t then you might leave the club.

But I’m good, I’m very happy. The timing of leaving is never something you want professionally but if ever there’s a time then it’s probably when your son is due in a month’s time which was from when I left Chelsea and he’s two months old now.”

Lampard is now a father-of-four, his son Freddie was born after he left Chelsea, he is happy helping wife Christine round the house with their toddler daughter Patricia and two older daughters.

He got so many messages after he was sacked from the likes of ex-Celtic boss Neil Lennon, Chris Wilder, Brendan Rodgers and so many more. He has long since made up with Jurgen Klopp after a few rows on the touchlines.

It should not be forgotten what a good job Lampard did. He lost Eden Hazard in his first summer in charge, was under a transfer embargo and yet still got Chelsea into the top four and even this season they went on a 17 game unbeaten run before Christmas.

He was touched by Thomas Tuchel’s recent remarks and tributes about Lampard’s management and what he inherited as well as taking particular pride in seeing Mason Mount’s development.

“I appreciated his (Tuchel’s) words last week,” said Lampard. “I was pleased to hear them because I think it’s right. I’m not just giving myself credit. But if I was in his shoes I would certainly speak like that so he’s giving me credit for the first half of the season.

“He’s taken it on and I’ll give him credit for that as well because to reach two finals and to be in contention for the top four, I know that battle from last year, we were in it last year and it’s tough battle, especially in the run-in.”

Lampard is keen to get back into management – and wants to get back in but insists it will have to be the right job.

“It’s something I love doing, I love working in management, even more than I thought I would do.

I would take a view on going into the Championship,” said Lampard.

If it was the right club, the right project for sure. I don’t have an ego where I feel just because I’ve managed in the Champions League, that’s the be all and end all. My year at Derby was such an enjoyable year.”

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