Frank Lampard relishing Chelsea challenges but feels he is 'judged differently' as English coach

James Robson
·3-min read
Chelsea FC via Getty Images
Chelsea FC via Getty Images

When Frank Lampard accepted Chelsea’s call just a year after stepping into management, close confidants asked if he was sure he was making the right move.

The Blues legend, however, could not resist his dream job, even if it meant learning the ropes along the way.

Lampard remains very much a novice on the touchline, but he knows that will afford him little leeway if he cannot meet the expectations of a club obliged to challenge on all fronts and deliver the biggest prizes.

If anything, he believes he will be held to even higher standards as an Englishman in direct competition with the super coaches of world football.

Cast an eye around the Premier League and, if Lampard is to succeed, he will have to better some of the greats, from former Chelsea managers Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, to Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

Frank Lampard is enjoying his time as Chelsea boss and sure he made the right decision to take the job (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Frank Lampard is enjoying his time as Chelsea boss and sure he made the right decision to take the job (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Lampard said: “I think when I got this job, a lot of people were questioning me getting the job. A lot of people told me, ‘Are you sure you want to take it?’ because of, maybe, opinion.

“Sometimes people can be very quick to form opinions straight away and being a young English manager with one year [of management] at Derby, some of that I understood. But we just have to judge people on face value, like we judge any manager.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re from, I think all managers should be judged the same.”

It is a measure of Lampard’s enthusiasm for the job that he insists he has relished the challenges he had to overcome in his first season in charge to secure Champions League qualification. And he is adamant he made the right decision in returning to Stamford Bridge.

“I am certainly very pleased I took it,” he said, ahead of Wednesday's game against Russian side Krasnodar in Group E.

“I’m very proud to manage this club. When I say a lot of people were wary, it was more about the circumstances, maybe trying to see it from the outside and feel what the opinion may be.

“I just saw football and saw a club that I love, so there was never a doubt in my mind, albeit I always try to listen to good advice from the people around me.

“In terms of do I love it? Yes — I loved last season. I loved the challenges that it brought with the transfer ban, with Covid time, of course, difficult times for everybody on every level.

“But in terms of the challenge as a coach, and that we managed to finish in the top four, that was something I was certainly proud of. From the work of the whole group, not just myself. Now we want to move on to further levels, and there are different challenges.

“I was very aware those challenges would come early in the season without a pre-season, [with] new players. I love that challenge every day.

“So, the answer is yes, I made the right decision [to be Chelsea manager].”

If Lampard needed reminding of the vulnerability and scarcity of English managers at top clubs, it came via the statistic that he is only the second, after Sir Bobby Robson, to take charge of two Champions League campaigns.

“There was quite a long time when I used to hear about how English managers couldn’t get jobs in the Premier League,” said Lampard.

“But I actually think it’s slightly different, I think sometimes now we’re seeing English managers showing their qualities within the game, throughout the Premier League, throughout the Championship, throughout the leagues. And, hopefully, there are more opportunities for them.”

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