Frank Lampard discusses his footballing ideals and the two very different aspects of the game his Chelsea team must display…
As a player Frank Lampard was the complete midfielder. He is best remembered for his destructiveness going forward, but by the end of his Chelsea career he had dropped deeper, always positionally sound and tough in the tackle, as evidenced by his performance in Munich.
Now he wants his Chelsea team to display similar versatility by marrying the offensive and defensive sides of the game. It is work done on the training ground that will lay the platform for the style of football Blues supporters can expect this season.
‘My big idea is how we train,’ Lampard said.
‘I want us to train how we want to play, to replicate that, even if I don’t think you can turn the switch on and off when you play.
‘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.
‘Then of course 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.’
Every fixture brings its own challenges, be they tough away trips to teams fighting for titles, or home fixtures versus sides struggling at the foot of the table. Lampard has acknowledged the need for adaptability from game to game, and explained the key to his team being able to do that.
‘The philosophy question is a difficult one. You get asked it a lot. It gets linked straight to attacking football, and that is not what I am trying to do.
‘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.
‘I mentioned how much I want us to be good off the ball,’ added the boss.
‘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.’