‘I try and be myself’: 13 quotes to explain Frank Lampard’s philosophy
In the most unlikely plot development of the season, Frank Lampard is back in charge of Chelsea on an interim basis – but what can we expect from the former England midfielder?
Lampard, an icon at Stamford Bridge as a player, replaced Maurizio Sarri in July 2019 after just a single season in charge of Derby County, who he guided to the play-off final.
He then spent 18 months working at the Bridge, part of which was spent under a transfer ban. He was sacked in January 2021 after a poor run of results.
Despite that, many Chelsea fans still hold Lampard the manager in high regard, especially because of the chances he gave to young players like Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
And many were ecstatic to see him replace Graham Potter until the end of the season. We’ve compiled 13 quotes that perfectly describe Lampard’s managerial philosophy.
In a wide-ranging interview with Goal in March 2019, Lampard spoke at length about his football philosophy at Derby.
“In terms of style of play, I want to play good football. We want to try to play. We have been one of the teams in the Championship this season who try to play. We try to move the ball through the pitch, rather than being too direct, that’s not my style. It is not the way I want to play.
“I want my team to play good football, but on the other side of that, I want them to be really aggressive and win the ball back. So I don’t like to try and put myself into one style of play. I think it is important to be adaptable in terms of systems.”
Mount impressed on loan at Derby under Lampard before becoming a Chelsea first-teamer and reiterated his manager’s comments about wanting to win the ball high up the pitch.
“Being a Chelsea midfielder, I would always watch him and try to take things from his game,” Mount told FourFourTwo while at Derby.
“This season he’s taught me a lot about timing my movements into the penalty area and getting into the right positions, as well as pressing when we don’t have the ball.”
While on loan at Derby from Liverpool, the Welsh winger echoed Mount’s assessment on Lampard’s demands off the ball when talking about his brief switch to a more central role in midfield.
“I spoke with the gaffer and we all know what a fantastic No.8 he was. He’s not a bad person to learn from!”, Wilson told the Derby Telegraph.
“He gave me a few tips on how to play there and just told me to get on the ball as much as I can – and when we haven’t got the ball, try to get out and press.”
The Chelsea winger reflected Wilson and Mount’s comments after playing under Lampard for the first time in the Blues’ 1-1 draw with Irish outfit Bohemians in pre-season.
“We’ve been training really hard with Frank this week. It’s very hard work, high intensity,” he said.
“We’re pressing a lot without the ball, when we’ve got the ball we have to move it quickly, and in transition [we have to be] very good.
“It’s very good to work under Frank. He’s a legend at this club.
“He’s a very good coach with very good ideas but it’s only five days working with him and for the future we have to prepare very well this month.”
“High intensity” is a recurring phrase when it comes to Lampard’s style, and Chelsea defender Azpilicueta said boss set his stall out early.
“We want to play with high intensity and we want to be dominant in games, the manager has explained how he wants us to play and we are all enjoying the camp so far.”
Back to the man himself and the interview with Goal, Lampard explained how he has been influenced by the managers he played under.
“I try to be myself; I think that’s very important,” he said. “Copying anyone as a manager is a mistake. You have to find your own methods or your own ways.
“I certainly have no fear of tapping into a bit of the managers that I have worked with over the years, but I don’t think that I am similar to any of them.
“I try to take positive points from a lot of people I worked with. In terms of how I work, you have to be reactionary in games, but I try to take things in throughout the week and get all the information.
“Be as prepared as I can be and thorough with the staff that I have got. Then make decisions having done that work which I think gives you the best opportunity to have that success.”
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Hasselbaink was a former team-mate of Lampard’s at Stamford Bridge and compared the ex-England international to another famous Chelsea leader, John Terry.
“They’re both totally different,” Hasselbaink told Sky Sports. “They both have leadership.
“Frank was a lot quieter, JT was more vocal, but you could see he [Lampard] was a leader. You would always think JT would become a manager more, but Frank was a leader in his own right.
“Not as vocal, but always doing the right thing, always leading forward and always taking people with him but in a more quieter and respectable way.
“Don’t get me wrong, JT was respectable, but in a different way and in a different manner. They both have got that quality of being a leader, and they both have won a lot in this game so they can give that experience to their players.”
On the topic of data analysis, Lampard offered an intriguing nugget into how he works with his backroom staff in the interview with Goal.
“We are very forward-thinking here at Derby. I came into the club that was already forward-thinking before I got here.
“We have got a fantastic analysis department. We are trying to certainly stay at the top of the game in that aspect. In the modern game, it is important that you use data and analysis. It is never my first call, but it is always a huge part of the process to be ahead of the game.”
He added: “As a manager, I certainly don’t get involved in areas that are not my strength and you have to trust in the people that you have got working in those areas to try to maximise performance at the end of the day.”
Former Derby owner Morris heaped plenty of praise on Lampard during his first season as a manager, and his comments on the “environment” created by the rookie boss were often echoed by Rams players.
“Frank has brought the buzz back to the place,” Morris told the Daily Telegraph. “He has created a special environment.
“It wasn’t about him being a celebrity, it was about somebody giving us excitement. He has an aura, like all great managers.”
“I think he has done a really impressive job [at Derby],” Fabregas said in June 2019. “It’s his first-ever job. He changed many things. I saw him in Russia with the BBC [when working as a pundit at the World Cup] and he had a very difficult squad, an older squad full of players at the end of their contracts as well.
“He renewed completely the squad, took on young players. He played a really aggressive style, attacking football. Really for a first-ever job, I think he has done really good.”
Lampard spoke of his desire to see players buy into his philosophy at Stamford Bridge, referring to Callum Hudson-Odoi specifically.
“I want players at this club who are not passing through, not here as a means to another move,” he told Sky Sports.
“The fans relate to passion, work ethic, players that love the badge.”
He added: “Callum knows how I feel, I’ve spoken to him. I think he can be absolutely central to this team.
“We all care for the players at this club, particularly the young players – it’s important I show that. Then the decision will be his and the club’s together.
Lampard again, this time talking about Mason Mount in an interview with Chelsea’s official site from October 2020 and giving some interesting insight into his need for on-pitch leaders to implement his pressing style.
“I have felt Mason’s qualities since he came and had a year with me at Derby,” Lampard said.
“Last season I relied on him a lot. When I came to the club at the start of last season I did a lot of work on how we could be good off the ball at the higher end of the pitch, and to be good off the ball in high and medium areas of the pitch you need triggers, you need people who are prepared to release a lot of energy and speed high up the pitch to win the ball back.”
James was handed his Chelsea debut by Lampard and, when Lampard was sacked two years ago, the England international wrote about him in glowing terms on Instagram, words that will give Everton fans hope of a similar youth revolution at Goodison.
“As a Chelsea fan growing up I’ve always looked up to you, idolised you,” James posted.
“I can’t explain what it’s been like to play under you, the whole journey has been surreal. I cannot thank you enough for putting your trust into me and giving me the opportunity to play for my boyhood club!
“Thank you so much for all you have taught me, which I will continue to use throughout the rest of my career.
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to live my dream! I’ll forever be thankful.