The Blues legend is enjoying the start of his managerial career at Derby and has respect for the way Maurizio Sarri is leading Chelsea
Frank Lampard is adamant that he is not trying to copy any of the managerial greats he worked with during his active career as he aims to develop his own management style and philosophy at Derby County.
The former England midfielder thrived at Chelsea under high-profile managers such as Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti and there is little doubt he will have picked up a trick or two from previous bosses.
Lampard is quick to stress he is his own man, though, and is looking to do things his own way at the Championship side, who sit eighth in the table with nine games to go.
“I try to be myself; I think that’s very important,” Lampard told Goal. “Copying anyone as a manager is a mistake. You have to find your own methods or your own ways. I certainly have no fear of tapping into a bit of the managers that I have worked with over the years, but I don’t think that I am similar to any of them.
“I try to take positive points from a lot of people I worked with. In terms of how I work, you have to be reactionary in games, but I try to take things in throughout the week and get all the information. Be as prepared as I can be and thorough with the staff that I have got. Then make decisions having done that work which I think gives you the best opportunity to have that success.
“In terms of style of play, I want to play good football. We want to try to play. We have been one of the teams in the Championship this season who try to play. We try to move the ball through the pitch, rather than being too direct, that’s not my style. It is not the way I want to play.
“I want my team to play good football, but on the other side of that, I want them to be really aggressive and win the ball back. So I don’t like to try and put myself into one style of play. I think it is important to be adaptable in terms of systems.
“You can’t always play that beautiful football that you are searching for because of the conditions and the opposition. So I think, in terms of trying to box yourself into one style I think it could be wrong in my opinion. But I want to play good football, I want it to be aggressive, I want the fans to see that we are a team that plays with passion and desire and wants to win games of football.”
With Lampard’s Chelsea past, it’s inevitable his name gets mentioned at Stamford Bridge when things are not going as planned. Back in February, the 40-year-old was the bookmakers’ favourite to become the club’s next manager after a poor run of results.
Such is the turbulent world of football management, however, current boss Maurizio Sarri has since stabilised his position, while Lampard has faced challenges of his own at Derby.
Lampard might have little time to worry about – or even watch – Chelsea in his role as Derby manager, but he is keeping a close eye on the way Sarri is leading the club and feels the Italian has perhaps been treated unfairly over his rigid philosophy.
“I respect managers who have a belief in a philosophy or system,” Lampard continued. “I have never worked with Sarri, but I did see his Napoli team play fantastic football.
“I think it has been unfortunate for Sarri himself, everyone has come up with this ‘Sarriball’ term, but I am not sure I have ever heard him actually milk that one or make it his own. I think he is just trying to win football games and he has brought in players who want to play the way he wants to play. Everyone has become a little bit focused on that fact. I think he is a very good manager.
“In terms of compared to my style, yes, I look at the players I have and what I can do with that. You try to play in the best way you can. When we played against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup, Sarri spoke to me after the game. He was very complimentary about us, but he was talking about all the games we played over the last weeks.
“He is not just looking at how Chelsea are playing, he is looking at his opponents, and he is trying to get good results for Chelsea Football Club. I have got respect for him. I don’t know him that well but I have got respect for him.”
Sarri found himself at the heart of a massive row when goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted in the cup final against Manchester City, leading to claims that player power has long been an issue at Chelsea that cost a number of managers their job.
Nevertheless, Lampard was quick to laugh off such suggestions and stressed his belief that player power has become a lazy label to tar Chelsea players with, denying having seen it as an issue during his time at Stamford Bridge.
“It was massively overplayed,” Lampard added. “It was overplayed to the point where it was false. We had a massive strength at Chelsea. We had fantastic managers at different times, but the strength was that the dressing room wanted to win and had a real desire to be winners.
“That’s certainly what I want as a dressing room, as a manager now. It is a very cheap and easy statement to say a problem at Chelsea is player power. Chelsea is a club that has changed managers. It is a club that demand results.
“I think rightly so, it has gone into that bracket now, and it has a way of working. I think as a player, all I would worry about is what I did every week. Was I at my best? All John Terry concerned himself about was that. Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, Petr Cech and Ashley Cole; They were all great professionals.
“So if you call having strong personalities as a player [a weakness], then I think that’s a cheap and easy way to look at it. It became more of a media word than something that was real. The fact is that Chelsea were not winning enough games in a period of time.
“They are getting judged just as Manchester City do, Manchester United do and Liverpool do. It is such a top end job and such a top end club that people look into every avenue when results are not perfect. I think player power was the first call, ‘let’s look at player power’. It is not the right answer.”
That Chelsea upbringing has given Lampard a platform to come into a club with a huge history like Derby in his first role as a manager.
Like the Blues, the Championship side have world-class facilities in place and Lampard’s openness to new ideas has led him to work with Nano M, who seek to promote well-being and healthcare in professional sport.
“We are very forward-thinking here at Derby,” Lampard concluded. “I came into the club that was already forward-thinking before I got here. We have got a fantastic analysis department. We are trying to certainly stay at the top of the game in that aspect. In the modern game, it is important that you use data and analysis. It is never my first call, but it is always a huge part of the process to be ahead of the game.
“I haven’t changed the medical team here at all. I think it is fantastic and you can see the facilities we have got here are excellent. It is Premier League standard. For the modern-day player, you have to have those foundations at the club to try to move forward and you must never stand still in any department.
“As a manager, I certainly don’t get involved in areas that are not my strength and you have to trust in the people that you have got working in those areas to try to maximise performance at the end of the day. So I think we are always trying to look forward and move forward on all those fronts.”
Frank was speaking as ambassador for Nano M, find out more on Twitter or Facebook
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