The Frank Lampard Era is less than 24 hours from getting under way. It’s equal parts exciting and scary, promising and daunting, hopeful and hopeless. It could be the best of times, it could be the worst times. And so on.
But one thing seems to be clear as far as expectations are concerning. Lampard will not shy away from the challenge and he will do everything in his power to ensure that his Chelsea team do not either. Hard work and determination may not be the whole answer, but here is no answer without them. Get those basics right, and who knows what can happen with the rest.
“I want us to be good off the ball. That’s actually my first call: how fit and how hard we can work without the ball, before talking about what we can do with the ball. I do believe in the talent of this squad, and they can play with freedom on the ball, but we must be difficult to play against. Attacking football, defensive football, it’s all the same.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Hard work forms the basis of Lampard’s three tenets.
“I want energy in my team. I want us to have possession of the ball. We have players who have the quality to handle the ball, but I don’t want it for possession’s sake. I want us to be an exciting team to watch so we can move the ball through the pitch quickly, and create chances.”
“We have to be an aggressive team off the ball. We have to be a team who teams don’t like playing against because of how hard we work off the ball, and don’t like playing us because we’re really good on the ball. You can always strive for more in both departments.”
“We have to be adaptable. The idea of playing attacking football every week in the Premier League - good luck with that. It’s tough. We need to be able to understand wherever we go in this league you may have to adapt slightly. We need to be ready to do that. It’s not just about can we go and play this free-flowing beautiful football.”
Skill is given. Hard work is earned. Combine the two, and we just might do alright.
As Yul Brenner once said, “I see pride! I see power! I see a bad-ass mother who don’t take no crap off of nobody!”