Chelsea won the UEFA Champions League for the second time on May 29th.
It came after a mid-term coaching replacement — though Thomas Tuchel was only pseudo-interim (18-month contract) whereas Roberto Di Matteo was explicitly interim (4-month appointment). And yet, it was in the former’s case that the narrative went to greater lengths to acknowledge the contributions of the previous coaching regime to the successful campaign.
That’s not to say that such narratives are misguided, but it’s always touchy territory once we start talking about who built what and when and how. José Mourinho loved claiming such credit, for example.
Frank Lampard may have gotten much of his education from The Special One, but when it comes to coaching, he’s not cut from the same cloth. For him, watching Chelsea win it all was a happy moment, firstly as a “Chelsea man” and secondly as a proud former coach, especially of the Academy youngsters, but obviously the rest of the squad as well.
“When you work towards something, you want to be there, you want to be the manager. I am never going to try and lay claim on that. I was part of the early foundation potentially but Thomas did a fantastic job getting them there.
“I will say, that when I watched it, first I am a Chelsea person and Chelsea fans are happy and the club deserves that. Secondly to see Mason and Reece James perform at that level, people like Mendy, Chilwell and Thiago, who came in during my time there, makes me pretty proud. But it was a great achievement by them and very well managed.”
Unfortunately, Lampard, in his role as Euro 2020 pundit on the BBC was not asked whether he was given a winner’s medal, but hopefully we have not left him out of the 40-piece allotment.
As far as the future, punditry is just a temporary gig, with the Chelsea legend looking to get back into management at the right opportunity. He was recently re-linked with the Crystal Palace job after their negotiations with Nuno Espírito Santo went sideways, while earlier his name was put forth as a candidate for a potential England U21 vacancy. Managing Chelsea is usually a great boost to any CV, after all.
“You never want to lose a job. I am pretty good company at Chelsea, it happens, it is the brutal reality of football at the highest level. With reflection, it has been nice to spend some time out of the game. I am pretty proud of the job I did. It was an honour to manage the club. […] it was a huge experience for me. I only want to look at it positively going forward.”
“I am certainly not put off [football management]. I love the job, I love the challenge of it. I had two great experiences at Derby and then at Chelsea, and would love to get back in at the right time and the right moment.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Evening Standard