Frank Lampard relishing biggest challenge of his career at Chelsea
Frank Lampard believes he faces the biggest challenge of his career after signing a three-year deal to return to Chelsea as the club’s new manager on Thursday.Updated: Jul 04, 2019, 21:18 IST
Frank Lampard believes he faces the biggest challenge of his career after signing a three-year deal to return to Chelsea as the club’s new manager on Thursday. Lampard earned legendary status at Stamford Bridge during a 13-year playing career in which he won 13 trophies and became the club’s leading goalscorer with 211 goals. However, he returns to the club with just one year’s worth of managerial experience at second tier Derby County. “Yes I would,” said Lampard when asked if this was his biggest challenge.
“When I started out a year ago at Derby I felt that was a huge challenge because you start again. I don’t want credit for my playing career. “I should be judged on what I do here and what I do going forward.”
Lampard will have to live without Eden Hazard, who joined Real Madrid last month, or any new signings for his first season with Chelsea serving a two-window transfer ban from FIFA. However, he believes he can keep the Blues among the Premier League’s top four, even if challenging for the title against champions Manchester City and Champions League winners Liverpool is a tall order.
“I think the expectation quite rightly that we remain competitive,” he added. “Of course there are variables, we know at the moment there is the transfer ban, we know about the situation. We know Man City and Liverpool pulled away last year and we should be realistic about that, but we should never stop trying as Chelsea to be up there and I think we should be.”
Instead of big money buys, Lampard is expected to bring through a number of promising youngsters from the Chelsea academy who have been farmed out on loan in recent seasons.
“Trying to develop young players I think is really important and I think that is one of my first jobs to do and I will carry on doing during my time in charge,” said Lampard.
“There is a lot of competition at the top of the league. We talk about losing Eden Hazard, one of the best players in the world, but we still have a very strong squad. I don’t want to talk down this squad because there is huge talent there.”
In the 16 years since Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took charge of the club, a revolving door of managers with far more impressive coaching experience than Lampard have come and gone from Stamford Bridge.
However, he insisted he is ready to prove the doubters wrong that his homecoming has come around too early in his managerial career.
“One year in professional management and you get the Chelsea job, that doesn’t come around very often,” he continued.
“In my playing career I played under a lot of fantastic managers who I learned from along the way and tried to mould myself around. That stands me in good sted.
“I’ve had one year at Derby when I learned a lot in that one year and I also know a lot about this club and how it works.
“I have to prove that. People will question it, I’m ready for that. I want to show I am ready to manage this club whether I have one year experience or 10 years experience.”