‘I want to dangle the carrot – can you work hard, can you compete, can you get in the team?’ New Chelsea boss promises to blood young talent in first interview
- Frank Lampard has pledged to bring through academy players at Chelsea
- The Blues legend was unveiled as the club’s new manager on Thursday
- Speaking in his first full interview, Lampard spoke of the academy’s importance
- READ MORE: What Lampard needs to do now that his appointment is confirmed
Frank Lampard has pledged to make sure the road is clear for young players to reach the first team from the academy in his first interview as Chelsea manager.
The Blues legend was finally confirmed as Maurizio Sarri’s replacement on Thursday, signing a three-year contract after spending a year with Derby County.
Chelsea are currently under a transfer embargo and Lampard is widely expected to pivot towards utilising the club’s highly successful youth set-up.
And speaking to Chelsea TV in a nine-minute long interview, the club’s record goalscorer confirmed he would make sure young players will get their chance – if they’re good enough.
Lampard, 41, said: ‘I want to work with those players, I want to dangle the carrot, can you work hard, can you compete, can you get in the team?’
When asked about the first team’s relationship with the academy, he added: ‘It’s important. It’s something that I will work hard to make sure the communication is there day in, day out.
‘I’m lucky because the staff I will have with me will help me with that. But I will always have my eye on the academy. I think it’s important.
‘I was that young player, a very long time ago. And the one thing you want is the feeling that you can get into the first team. That feeling that the road that divides the academy from the main building, is one that you can cross. It has to be there for you.
‘I think that does come from the top and I have to show that. If young players are performing, and they deserve it on merit, then they will be coming and training with us.
‘But there’s a lot of hard work for them to do. I don’t want it to look like it’s an easy road, it’s very tough, but we can try and help them.’
LAMPARD’S FIRST INTERVIEW AS CHELSEA BOSS – TRANSCRIPT
Chelsea head coach, how does it sound?
It sounds good. Surreal to a degree because of my playing career here. I don’t think I need to state how much it meant to me, to play 13 years at this place -home for a long a time in a great era that I was fortunate enough to be involved in.
Now this is a new chapter and I’m really looking forward to it.
As I say, everyone knows how I feel about the club, my absolute desire is to be here and work hard. I think I did that as a player, trying to get the most out of myself on the pitch , and that’s my intention to do as manager.
Describe your emotions
They’re big in a good sense. When you feel a club, a lot of players in my era were the same, that was the kind of things fans relate to, when you have players who really feel and care for the club.
I was fortunate enough to play alongside some great ones. We know that.
I still have that feeling, even on this side, and that’s what I want to see in my players, in my team because I think those are the things fans want to see.
How did Derby help you prepare?
It was a good first year, we didn’t quite get to where we wanted to be in the play-off final. (But) from where we started, we did a lot of changing of the team, bringing the age down, a lot of young players, changing the style to a big degree and I suppose the fact that we made great strides in one season is what I’m most proud of.
Not just myself but the staff and the players at Derby. I learnt a lot. As a manager you continue to learn whether it’s your first year, second year, or twentieth year so hopefully it puts me in good stead.
I’m ready to keep learning, that’s how I played, year in year out until the end of my career so that’s how I’ll manage.
Can you describe what kind of manager you are?
I don’t like that question, that’s one I want you to ask the players, ask the Derby players from last year or the Chelsea players this year.
I want to work and be close to my players. Like we all do, I still feel young, I still feel like a player.
I feel like I know what they want and what they need. I always appreciated managers that gave me that – (the ones where) I had a relationship with on a level off the pitch. Who made you feel good. Try to get the best out of you. Drove you in training everyday. Supported you as a player.
But also I like to set standards, I want the team to work.
I found at Derby last year that I was really pleased with us as a group that training translated on to the pitch. That’s my job.
So that’s what I’ll try and show here. If I can see a team that works hard, that has high energy, that really has passion and of course the talent that I know is in the squad already, then I’ll be very happy.
Have other managers influenced you?
Throughout my twenties I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but you’re always listening and learning from managers, some great managers too.
Then from my thirties onwards I started thinking more, taking it in, trying to keep in some of the knowledge for the future.
What I don’t want to be is a clone of any one manager. I don’t want to be that.
I think it’s false if you do that. I’ve tried to take on board all the information good bad whatever I felt in my career and be myself.
I think I did that last year as a manager and I really enjoyed the year that I had on this side of the fence. I’m determined to keep going.
On the expectations at Chelsea:
I think expectations at Chelsea will always remain – from the outside, because of what the club’s done in the last 15 years, in the Roman Abramovich era for sure.
I liked that. I enjoyed that as a player, I enjoyed the pressure of expectation.
And it changes, there are different circumstances. We had years where we had great success, some years where we didn’t have so much. But the standards have to keep rising, year after year.
That’s not just on the pitch stuff, that’s daily. That’s players, that’s staff, that’s everyone around the club.
I will try and push that, when you are in charge you have to push it, people go off you and your standard, and if I can try and show that and what I want then hopefully we’ll do well.
Mix of experienced players and young players:
I will certainly use that. Because I think experience – you can’t talk it down. I played with some of them, I know that they’re great characters, they have a real desire and passion for the club and they also have a responsibility to help the younger players.
So that’s why I am very excited to come into a team that has a really nice balance of the experience and younger players. Some that have made their start into the team already, some who will be looking to make their start in the team going forward.
(I hope) we can keep that balance, the responsibility of the older players to help them, and the younger players’ responsibility to show that they have got what it takes to try and get into the first team.
On the younger players coming through at Chelsea
I’m excited. Playing here for so many years, seeing the work put into the academy, on all fronts. From the top: investment into the academy and the want and desire to see it succeed (and) on the ground: the coaching staff, the people working in the academy, trying to work as hard as they can to bring players through to the first team.
And then the players themselves. I’ve seen them – (I was) fortunate enough to work with Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori last year, their attitudes to that, the fact they’ve come through the academy, in how they held themselves, how they work, how they train, their manners off the pitch, that’s what I want to see.
I want to work with those players, I want to dangle the carrot, can you work hard, can you compete, can you get in the team?
The relationship between the academy and first team:
It’s important. It’s something that I will work hard to make sure the communication is there day in, day out.
I’m lucky because the staff I will have with me will help me with that. But I will always have my eye on the academy. I think it’s important.
I was that young player, a very long time ago. And the one thing you want is the feeling that you can get into the first team. That feeling that the road that divides the academy from the main building, is one that you can cross. It has to be there for you.
I think that does come from the top and I have to show that. If young players are performing, and they deserve it on merit, then they will be coming and training with us. But there’s a lot of hard work for them to do. I don’t want it to look like it’s an easy road, it’s very tough, but we can try and help them.
Petr Cech has returned to the club in advisory role…
I’m delighted to have Petr here. It’s fantastic for the club. He’s an icon, a legend of the club. He’s a very smart man. It was very obvious in my playing days in the dressing room that he had the intelligence, the languages, the desire to learn from people around him, and speak to people and people bring together.
He’s very smart – he will want to take the club forward in the right way and because of our relationship I hope it’s something that can work very well together. I’m delighted to work with Petr.
I know, we’ve had conversations, we have an idea, many ideas, on how to can keep the club moving forward.
What can Chelsea fans expect?
I’ve touched on it, but it’s very easy to throw out words. When you talk to coaches now, everyone wants to have energy, everyone wants to work hard, all these things.
For me, I can’t wait to get working and the see the team on the training ground and as I said before, see the translation of the work you do on the training ground come onto the pitch.
Because as a fan – and I’ve remained a Chelsea fan, I’ve been coming to watch games, watching them on TV – when you see a team play with passion, aggression, speed in their game, trying to entertain the fans, play good football, I want them to move the ball quickly, things that we will work on day in, day out, I want to see that on the pitch because that’s what I want to see.
So I’ll push hard for that.
What are your final words to Chelsea fans?
I’m delighted to be here, my smile probably tells them that anyway!
It’s obviously the club that’s been in my heart for a long time, and I’ve never forgotten that, I never will. But once we go beyond the emotion, which I’m very keen to go beyond very quickly, because I want to work.
What they can expect from me is a young manager who is going to give everything, every hour in the day that I can, to work hard, to bring a team that the fans can be proud of.
This is a competitive club, it always has been in the modern era, and I want to remain competitive.
I want to try and help with the younger players try and get them into the squad and see players because I know fans really relate to players that come through the academy and feel the club.
And I will work hard to try and bring success to the club.
The Blues have become accustomed to success during the Roman Abramovich era, with Lampard himself winning every domestic honour available to an English club with the Blues – including the Champions League in 2012.
The transfer embargo has led to questions about whether the former England international will be able to compete with the Premier League’s dominant forces, Manchester City and Liverpool.
But Lampard is not concerned about expectations, insisting he wants to continue to drive up standards at Stamford Bridge.
‘I think expectations at Chelsea will always remain,’ added Lampard.
‘From the outside, because of what the club’s done in the last 15 years, in the Roman Abramovich era for sure.
‘I liked that. I enjoyed that as a player, I enjoyed the pressure of expectation.
‘And it changes, there are different circumstances, we had years where we had great success, some years where we didn’t have so much but the standards have to keep rising, year after year.
‘That’s not just on the pitch stuff, that’s daily. That’s players, that’s staff, that’s everyone around the club.
‘I will try and push that, when you are in charge you have to push it, people go off you and your standard, and if I can try and show that and what I want then hopefully we’ll do well.’