Lampard ready for ‘biggest challenge’ of his career at Chelsea
5 July, 2019, 9:13 pm
(Reuters) – New Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has said he does not view making the step up to one of the biggest jobs in world football as a risk and will not seek advice from any of his former coaches as he begins the ‘biggest challenge’ of his career.
Lampard was unveiled as Maurizio Sarri’s replacement on Thursday after one season in charge of Championship side Derby County, with owner Roman Abramovich turning to Chelsea’s record goalscorer to lead the club into a new era.
“I’m not naive… I don’t see this as a risk. I’m not fearful of the downsides. I’m ready to stand up and accept that side of it,” Lampard, who scored 211 goals in 648 appearances for Chelsea between 2001-2014, told reporters.
“Yes I would (call it my biggest challenge). My playing career is done. You start again as a manager. I should be judged on what I do here, going forward.”
Lampard, who won three Premier League titles and the Champions League as a Chelsea player, said he did not think his legendary status at Stamford Bridge should earn him any special treatment from the club’s board.
“I’m a realist and the last thing I want to do is ask for any favours… nobody has an easy road in football,” he added.
“I haven’t spoken to any of my old managers and… I don’t plan to call any of them. Questions are always asked of you in football and I am getting that again. I really like that.”
Former Chelsea midfielder Jody Morris and Chris Jones, who both worked alongside Lampard at Derby, have joined his backroom staff but Chelsea also announced that Sarri’s assistant Gianfranco Zola had left the club.
“It’s a very Chelsea-orientated team but it is not an old boys’ club,” Lampard said. “It’s not just bringing in players who played for the club, but people who feel the club and have an incredible work ethic.”
Chelsea are under a transfer ban, and have lost talismanic midfielder Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, and one of Lampard’s first jobs will be identifying talent in the club’s youth ranks.
“It’s really important to develop young players,” he added. “People will question my experience, but I’m ready for that. What will define me is my work ethic and what I put into it to try to bring success.”