We can perhaps allow Frank Lampard a bit of a dad-joke. He is, after all, a Chelsea legend, one of the most legendary of all legends in fact. So when he cracks a joke about Hazard being “scared” of Derby County, we can just nod and smile along. Yes yes, he’d be quaking in his boots. Absolutely.
”He is an absolutely outstanding player in world football. Let’s hope he wants a rest! I think he’s scared of coming up against my team!”
Lampard is likely to get his wish of course, with Hazard still dealing with the back injury from the (unpenalized) scissor tackle from Manchester United’s Ashley Young ten days ago. Even if Hazard were fit, he’d be unlikely to start. Emotional aspect aside, it’s a League Cup match against second division opponents we’re talking about, and that warrants the usual amount of rotation we’ve been seeing from Sarri for midweek matches.
Still, as someone who played with Hazard for a couple seasons, Lampard knows the man’s quality first-hand.
“On current form [with Messi injured and Ronaldo at a new club], yes he’s is [the best in the world]. Of course, that can change but I love watching him and he’s in his prime.”
"Let's hope he wants a rest!"— Goal (@goal) October 29, 2018
Frank Lampard weighed in on Eden Hazard's place among the best in the world as Derby prepares to take on Chelsea. pic.twitter.com/9psFSoc6yz
Not sure if Lampard slipped enough qualifiers into that statement. May we interest you in a career in politics or the law, if this football thing doesn’t work out?
In all seriousness, Lampard knows that the task facing his charges (including Chelsea loanees Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori) is great, but they have nothing to lose. All he’s asking from them is to show a good account of themselves.
“They have threats from everywhere. We have to be fearless. I don’t want the game passing anyone by. I’m not concerned with the result at this point. I just want them players to turn up focused and give it everything.”
“They have been very impressive. Sarri is very impressive. We’ve worked hard here to change certain things, and I know how much work goes into it. He’s done the same at Chelsea, and I see them in the mix of teams in with a shout of winning the title.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Derby Telegraph
Lampard is of course looking forward to the match for personal reasons as well — as are fellow coaches Jody Morris and Chris Jones — but the emphasis will be on the young men on the pitch.
And speaking of which, a most delightful potential solution to Sarri’s selection challenge at forward would be to give either Pedro or Willian a rest and start Callum Hudson-Odoi. That would put a trio of Chelsea’s most promising propsects on the pitch at the same time, in the very stadium they all hope they can star in for years to come.
Make it so!