Frank Lampard explains how he is handling the demands of being head coach at a big club like Chelsea and why he will be giving his opposite number a warm welcome in the Stamford Bridge dugout when we face Leicester City.
Having spoken previously during his time in charge at Derby County about how part of the learning curve after hanging up his boots and entering management was how wide ranging the role can be, he discussed how those extra responsibilities only grow at a club the size of Chelsea.
‘It’s the size of the club and, for example, the size of the media,’ said Lampard. ‘The media at Derby wasn’t really like this, other than Spygate scenarios, so it’s those kind of things, but I was expecting that.
‘I know the club, I played here a long time, but there are things you don’t realise a manager has to do and the longer days et cetera, but I’m enjoying it. I loved prepping for Liverpool in the Super Cup. What a challenge to go up against a great manager and a great team and try and find ways that we can put our imprint on the game. It was a lot of hours sat with the staff trying to work out the best way to go and those are the real challenges I’m enjoying.’
However, our head coach also acknowledges that despite the additional demands he faces at Chelsea, it is compensated by the staff he has around him provide assistance at the Bridge and allow him to focus on the business of building a successful team.
‘There’s a lot of support here,’ he added. ‘We’ve got a lot of good people working on all fronts, but I do like to be across everything and I do like to have attention to detail, so maybe I’ve got better at that myself, prioritising and organising.
‘I’ve got a good staff around me and then there are good people around that, who have been at the club for a long time and know how it works. There are always little challenges along the way, any manager would say that, particularly at a club like this, and it’s important for me that my eyes are always first and foremost on the team, the training, the actual squad and what really matters, to get us three points. But those small details are important and I know I’ve improved on that.’
Given the importance Lampard puts in paying attention to the smaller details as a coach, it perhaps isn’t surprising that is one of the traits which he was most impressed by in Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, who he knows well from Rodgers’ time coaching in the Chelsea Academy during Lampard’s playing days here.
‘I had a lot of contact with Brendan who was, like we’re trying to build here now, the link between the Academy and the first team. That needs to be strong, a big part of the club, and he was over in the first-team building a lot.
‘The thing that stood out for me was probably the detail of him as a coach. He wanted to speak, wanted to ask questions, wanted to learn and was very big on the details in his sessions and organised. So he stood out for me.
'After that, when he moved on and went to Reading and Watford, he took my dad as a consultant two days a week and they were working quite closely. I certainly appreciated that, getting me dad out of the house! From then on I’ve had a good relationship with him. I saw him on holiday a couple of years ago by chance and we always have a chat. So I have top respect for him.’