Frank Lampard is enjoying the pressure of life back under the Premier League spotlight at Chelsea, although he concedes that it is now part of his remit to “upset 10 to 15 players every week”.
The ex-England international got a taste of that in 2018-19 when cutting his managerial teeth at Derby.
After just one season in the Championship, the Blues legend was then given the opportunity to make an emotional return to Stamford Bridge. He jumped at the chance, despite his relative lack of coaching inexperience and the fact Chelsea were being forced to operate under the constraints of a transfer embargo.
Lampard had to get creative in his new post, with the decision quickly taken to show faith in home-grown stars and academy graduates. That decision has paid off, with the Blues in contention for a top-four finish and major honours, but the 41-year-old is still learning on the job.
He has, however, been around long enough to know what being a top-flight boss entails and has no problem making big calls that may not be to everyone’s liking.
Lampard told Chelsea’s official magazine:
“I know that a manager is going to upset 10 to 15 of his players every week and make decisions that people are going to be unhappy about and scrutinise.
“I think you just have to accept that as part of it, and I try not to make that the focal point. I try to see the bigger picture and think, if I can be honest and up front with the players – which is not always easy – then the players will respect you in the end, even if they are upset when they’re walking down that corridor.
“That’s how I felt as a player and I certainly respected the managers who were up front with me, even if they were giving me bad news sometimes.”
He added: “I wouldn’t say players spoke about it much. I think players tend to be very much in the moment and I probably was like that to a degree as well.
“I wouldn’t have sat there and spoken too much with other players about it, and some of my former team-mates who have gone into management have surprised me. I’ve read that some others are surprised I’ve done it, because of how I was as a player.
“I wasn’t always hugely vocal in the dressing room as vice-captain, I wasn’t expected to be, because of the attributes John [Terry] had and the slightly different ones I had.”