Games for Frank Lampard against the first club of his career are certainly nothing new. He faced West Ham United on 21 occasions when a Chelsea player and once during his one season at Manchester City.
Tomorrow however is different to a degree, as it is to be the first time he takes on the Irons as the man in charge of the opposition side. That apart however, there is nothing special about this London derby according to our boss.
‘I would not say it is a bitter-sweet experience for me in any way,’ Lampard told reporters at his pre-match conference.
‘It is just a game for us to try to win against very difficult opponents. A London derby adds spice to it which the players have to be aware of because that can change the temperature of the game.
‘I am not concerned about the emotions from my point of view. I came through the academy there a long, long time ago, I have been at Chelsea a long time as a player and now a manager so the focus is completely on us.
‘I expect West Ham to bring passion and effort. They are in a difficult place because of their recent run, and sometimes that can bring out the best in players. You look at people in their team like Mark Noble and Declan Rice, players that care for the club, and they want to react to a manager who is a top manager so I am expecting a reaction from them. We know they have individual quality in forward areas so I am taking the game nowhere near lightly. It is a tough match.’
Lampard says he has huge respect for West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini who was in charge at Man City when they were both there in 2014/15, and he describes the Chilean as a good manager and a good man who will be working hard to turn their form around.
The east Londoners are without a win in two months but Lampard does expect that to help his side on Saturday afternoon.
‘I have played in London derbies against teams that are in pretty poor form and their crowd come from the feeling they have had in recent games and it is transformed because they are in a London derby and they travel and the atmosphere changes. That can affect the game so I don’t think it is a good or bad time to play them, and we have to be aware of their threats on the pitch.
‘For me, I will just do my job. Fans will be fans, we know where everyone’s loyalty lies, we know how passionate fans are in England for their clubs and it is a London derby and I expect it to be passionate on both sides.’
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