If Frank Lampard leaves for Chelsea, Derby face tough time, says Mel Morris
Last Updated: 26/06/19 2:24pm
Mel Morris admits Derby will face a "tough time" should manager Frank Lampard leave to return to former club Chelsea.
The Rams are hopeful for a swift conclusion to discussions after granting Chelsea permission to speak to the Blues' all-time top goalscorer on Tuesday, with pre-season looming.
The Chelsea job comes around pretty frequently, and it was always going to be there for Frank, we just didn't think it'd be after one season"
Derby owner Morris says he and Lampard discussed the likelihood of a move back to Chelsea before offering the former England midfielder his first managerial job last summer, and the owner insists he has "no regrets" about allowing him to hear what Chelsea have to say.
"We're going to have a tough time ahead if Frank goes. If he'd done a bad job at Derby this season then this wouldn't be happening," Morris told talkSPORT.
"When Frank met me for the first time we spoke about this opportunity and we knew that somewhere down the line it would happen, although we thought it would be some way off.
"You don't have to give permission but we talked about this eventuality. Let's be honest, the Chelsea job comes around pretty frequently, and it was always going to be there for Frank, we just didn't think it'd be after one season.
"It's impossible in a situation like this. The last thing you want is, if someone has a desire to go, them looking over their shoulder. I have a great relationship with Frank - and Chelsea - and this will continue."
Lampard, who enjoyed a glittering 13-year playing career at Stamford Bridge, has been strongly linked with the job since Maurizio Sarri left his role as boss earlier this month to take over at Italian champions Juventus.
"I would have been more critical if it was a lower half Premier League club but this is one of the top jobs in football and we have to respect that. It's a huge decision for Frank and a huge decision for Chelsea and I have no regrets, however this works out."
Lampard has impressed at the Rams, guiding them to the brink of promotion to the Premier League as they were eventually beaten 2-1 by Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final.
Morris, who has not given up hope that Lampard will remain at Pride Park, added: "After the play-off final my belief was Frank would still be with us this season, and I hope that is still the case.
"I'm hoping he will manage us next season and I'm not giving up hope on that but it will happen at some point in the future that Frank goes to Chelsea, I just hope it's not now."
Morris revealed that "more than a fair number" of agents had called since he had given Chelsea permission to speak to Lampard, revealing he had already received around 12 applications for the job.
Asked what he would be looking for in a new manager, should he lose Lampard, Morris said: "Someone who will embrace the academy - like Frank has - and have a relationship and connection with the fans.
"And there's an expectation at the club that we have to play football a certain way."