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Lampard on Chelsea expectations, pressures, and visions of the future

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First official press conference for new Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard is back, long may he reign!

The club legend returned home today officially, to take over as the new head coach. It’s been the worst kept secret in football, though as he revealed in his first ever official press conference as Chelsea head coach, it wasn’t done without due consideration of his previous club and of his own future.

“It was great to have time here and talk and I have my vision. I have been quite cool about it, but now it’s official it felt really good!”

-Frank Lampard; source: football.london

“It didn’t take seconds or minutes because I had to address a really good opportunity we had last year at Derby. The owner, staff and fans welcomed me so it’s not been an easy decision on that behalf because we had a really good year.”

“However, it was quicker than usual because it’s this club. I don’t have to keep saying how I feel about Chelsea so the opportunity to manage this club, these players and fans is huge for me.”

-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC

It’s an opportunity that may only come along once a career, after all. Lampard may be still rather green when it comes to football management, but he’s intimately familiar with the club, including the expectations placed on everyone involved. He thrived under such pressures as a player, now he’ll have to do so as head coach.

“I’m aware what a job of this size means. I played here for long enough and the pressure was high. A club like Chelsea have high expectations and standards, you have to compete year after year, but I’m not apprehensive about that. I’m a realist, I understand what the club want from me and I’ll try to deliver.”

-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC

For Lampard personally, this is just another point in his career where he’ll need to prove his worth. As a player, he was predicted to go to the very top. And he did.

But that illustrious playing career is over. He may still “feel” like a player — and is looking to use that to his benefit — but he’s very much the manager now.

“Yes [this is my biggest challenge as a manager]. My playing career is done. Great challenges along the way. I remember when people thought I shouldn’t be here for £11m. I worked hard to be here. I don’t want credit for my playing career. I need to be judged for my time here.”

-Frank Lampard; source: football.london

Lampard may not be the youngest ever Chelsea manager — he’s 41, just like José Mourinho was the first time around — but he’s certainly one of the least experienced, at least when it comes to the job of manager. He of course has vast experience from his playing career, which saw him work with the likes of Mourinho and Ancelotti.

“I thought about it a lot. I understand people will talk about the fact I’ve only had one year in management and to come into the Chelsea job after one year doesn’t happen often. In my playing career, I played with a lot of fantastic managers and that will hopefully stand me in good stead.

“I also learned a lot in one year at Derby but what will define my time here is my work ethic to get success. I know I have to prove myself and I want to show I’m ready to manage this club.”

-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC

As someone who has seen more than his fair share of managers come and go at Stamford Bridge, Lampard is approaching the situation with clear eyes.

“I haven’t [thought about previous changes in managers]. I am a realist and I don’t want favours going into something. We are focused on change of managers and you try to be successful. You can judge that on different levels. I will just try to work hard and it will be one of my first things to do.”

Chelsea Press Conference Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Lampard will also draw strength and experience from his staff, two of whom are following him from Derby (both ex-Chelsea of course) and two of whom are getting promoted internally at Chelsea. That’s still a very small coaching staff, so we should be expecting further additions and confirmations.

“Jody Morris is coming with me as assistant head coach. We have a close relationship. He has a great link with the academy, who were successful. We have a huge loyalty. Chris Jones as well, he will be with me as a coach. We know each other very well.

“Joe Edwards will move upwards from the U23s and he is fantastic on the training ground. Eddie Newton will be working with us as well.

“It’s a very Chelsea orientated team, we’re not to be an old boys’ club. I might have one year, but we have many years between us. We have a desire to be successful with this club.

As good as all this feels, once a ball is kicked in anger, it could all change rather quickly. Football is a harsh business, and Chelsea are not only under a transfer ban but will be without Eden Hazard for the first time since 2012. He’s not a player easily replaced.

“I think Eden Hazard, from the outside it seemed like something that was important to Eden personally. The club and fans respected that. I felt he give this club a lot of pleasure in his input. It is not one to dwell on now, we wish him well but now it is about how to take the club forward.”

“What we have is already a very strong squad and some have shown they have the talent, not to fill Hazard’s boots, but who can be huge players in this squad.”

Frank Lampard Unveiling - Stamford Bridge Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

Due to these extraordinary circumstances, recent reports have suggested that the Chelsea hierarchy will be more understanding of growing pains of a sophomore manager, though Lampard was quick to play down any notions of standards slipping.

“Yes we do [have the squad to fight for top four], for sure. There is a lot of competition at the top of the league. We have lost Hazard, but at the same time we have a very strong squad of players. Third last year, won the Europa League.”

“They haven’t [set a top four target] and they don’t need to. It is clear that we are a club that can be in the top four. I know the club and the standards. It where we need to be.”

He also knows where to play N’Golo Kanté.

“Yeah I do [know where to play N’Golo Kanté], thankfully. I am not going to talk about the way that we are going to look next season. Kanté is one of the greatest midfielders in the world. My job is to get the best out of him. I know the quality that he has.”

And of course Lampard, combined with the transfer ban, is expected to engender a youth revolution at Stamford Bridge, the likes of which haven’t been seen in many decades. At least that’s the theory...

“[Integrating youth] will be one of the things we will look at strongly. But it can be misconstrued at times, our eyes will be on that side of the building and if you can push yourself to the first team then we will look to bridge that gap.”

“[Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori] were great for me last year. They were pivotal. They come back with a clean slate, as does everyone. They have a chance to prove that they can be in the club.”

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-LAMPARD Photo by ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images

At the end of the day, Chelsea are about winning, and winning is what our aim must continue to be.

“[At] Chelsea, you have to have the intention to win and if I didn’t say that then I shouldn’t be here. We want to develop players. We should never stop trying as Chelsea, and we will try to do that. My instinct from above will always be that we have to be competitive.”

-Frank Lampard; source: football.london

Clear eyes.

Full hearts.