We didn’t have to wait too long for someone to ask Frank Lampard about the big news of the international break. In fact, the first four questions of Lampard’s pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s massive top four clash at Manchester City had to do with The “Humble One” crossing tribal lines from Chelsea to Spurs earlier this week — Did they talk? What makes Mourinho successful? Does that make things tougher for other teams? Was it surprising that he went to Spurs?
Lampard, as he usually does, expertly mixed serious and light-hearted reaction in his answers.
Lampard is absurdly consistent. Even his interviews are always the same:— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) November 30, 2014
Serious point, light-hearted point [chuckle] but, no, serious point
The Chelsea boss joked that he was glad to have Mourinho no longer lobbing bombs at Chelsea from behind the cameras, even if that means that he will be lobbing bombs at us on the football pitch and in press conferences.
“We had a couple of messages to congratulate him on his new role. I think history and results speak for themselves. He has done that consistently. It’s what we measure him and us as managers.
“It keeps him off Sky Sports for a while!
“He has got a good team. They were a lot of people’s favourites to be in the race. Pochettino did a great job. They have the structure there and will be a threat. They are in the top four race. When you look at the quality. The strength that they have, Kane and players like that.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Asked whether he was surprised that Mourinho went to Spurs, Lampard reached for the common sense answer that at the end of the day, this is just a job and Mourinho has had many jobs over a long career already. But even as Lampard acknowledged that this is a silly tribal issue, he did promise that he would reject Spurs out of respect for what Chelsea have done for his career — at least for the next 10 years.
And Lampard does not differentiate between “club” and “supporters” here, unlike Mourinho back in 2015 (but not unlike Mourinho in 2019).
“Jose Mourinho has managed a lot of football clubs over a long career, and sometimes that’s what happens. That’s his decision. Whether fans judge you or not is something that’s out of your hands. As a professional, you have to understand the right to work, but we also have this sort of tribal instinct in this country where fans react to that.
“I can firmly say no, and you can replay that in ten years or whenever you want!
“But I think it’s different. I was here for 13 years as a player, have an absolutely deep feeling for the club. Obviously, I went to Manchester City for a year at the end of my career, but Chelsea certainly something very close to my heart — hence why I’m so proud to manage this club, and hence why I wouldn’t manage Tottenham. And that’s no disrespect to Tottenham. I have a lot of friends who are Tottenham fans, and Arsenal fans, etc, but sometimes there are feelings when you’re in it that there are some things you wouldn’t do — just because of what Chelsea’s given me over time.
Hopefully in ten years, Lampard’s still Chelsea boss and this won’t be an issue at all, indeed!