19 years ago today, Frank Lampard's love affair with Chelsea began as he joined as a player from West Ham. Fast forward to the present and he's back at Stamford Bridge as our head coach. Here, we take a look back at what the boss said about his role on his first day in charge...
Lampard, our record goalscorer and one of the greatest players in our history, returned to Stamford Bridge as head coach earlier this summer. Speaking to the media at his official unveiling at Stamford Bridge, our former midfielder admitted it was a relatively easy decision to return to SW6 in a coaching capacity.
‘It didn’t take seconds or minutes because I had to address a really good opportunity we had last year at Derby,’ he said. ‘The owner, staff and fans welcomed me so it’s not been an easy decision on that behalf because we had a really good year. However, it was quicker than usual because it’s this club. I don’t have to keep saying how I feel about Chelsea so the opportunity to manage this club, these players and fans is huge for me.
‘I’m aware what a job of this size means. I played here for long enough and the pressure was high. A club like Chelsea have high expectations and standards, you have to compete year after year, but I’m not apprehensive about that. I’m a realist, I understand what the club want from me and I’ll try to deliver.’
Lampard was asked whether he was apprehensive about the task of managing Chelsea given his brief managerial career to date.
‘I thought about it a lot. I understand people will talk about the fact I’ve only had one year in management and to come into the Chelsea job after one year doesn’t happen often. In my playing career, I played with a lot of fantastic managers and that will hopefully stand me in good stead.
'I also learned a lot in one year at Derby but what will define my time here is my work ethic to get success. I know I have to prove myself and I want to show I’m ready to manage this club.’
Frank also addressed the departure of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.
‘From the outside it seemed like something that was important to Eden personally so the club and fans respected that. As a Chelsea fan and former team-mate, I know he gave this club such pleasure and we were thankful he was here. Now it’s important what we do and how we take the club forward. When you lose a great player you have to focus back on the team and we have plenty of great players here.
‘We have a good enough squad to achieve our targets, to qualify for the Champions League. People will talk about us losing Hazard but we have a lot of talent in this squad. They finished third in the Premier League last season and won the Europa League so my job now is to push on from there.’