When Jamie Redknapp met Frank Lampard
Watch the Sky Bet Championship play-off final between Aston Villa and Derby live on Sky Sports Football from 2pm on Monday; kick-off is at 3pm.
Last Updated: 27/05/19 3:23pm
It has been a roller coaster first season in management for Frank Lampard. Taking charge of Derby, he has led them to the play-off final at Wembley, where they will face Aston Villa on Monday for a spot in the Premier League.
Ahead of the game, which is live on Sky Sports Football from 2pm, he sat down with Sky Sports pundit and his cousin Jamie Redknapp at his favourite Italian restaurant in Derby. They discussed the final, his time in management, facing John Terry, his future and the infamous bar tab after they beat Leeds...
Redknapp: It has been an amazing first season. How do you reflect on how it has gone?
Lampard: It's hard to reflect because it feels like such a long time since I sat down with [the owner] Mel Morris and thought about taking the job.
To then go on and say yes, have pre-season, then all the ups and downs to get to the play-off final. There have been a million things. But I have to say I have enjoyed it, through all the tough moments it has been a great journey and we have got one more game to go.
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Redknapp: When I look at you Frank, you had a career to die for. You could have been so comfortable doing media work and having a nice life! What made you go into the madhouse of management?
Lampard: I don't know! I suppose there is something within. I worked in the media like yourself for a year and I really enjoyed it. You travel, meet good people and you still feel like you're in the game to a degree. I loved that side of it but there was something in me that wanted to do this, and I didn't want to give it too long to take it on and end up regretting it.
When the opportunity did come it wasn't an easy answer to give because I knew my life was going to change for me and my family to a big degree. But I am delighted. It is a tough and consuming job but winning at Leeds like we did last week makes everything worthwhile.
Redknapp: You have worked with some of the best managers like Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and lots of England managers. But what kind of manager are you and what is your style?
Lampard: Right from the beginning with your dad, Harry, I suppose I try and take on bits from all the managers I had. But you have got to try and be yourself. I played under managers who were trying to be something and it was always quite transparent in the dressing room.
I try to be quite hands on. I don't want players to think: 'Oh, he can stand there and be a manager without getting on the training ground and being first in and last out'.
Me and my staff spend hours with video analysis trying to improve any small details daily that can make us better. Then at the end of it we can assess what we could have done better and what we might not have done right at the time. It is all part of a process.
When Jamie met Frank
Watch the full interview on Sky Sports Football ahead of the Championship play-off final at 1.45pm on Monday. It is also available right now On Demand.
Redknapp: My dad has gone on record to say you were the best trainer he ever worked with. Is that something you try to instill into your players to make sure they work and graft to get to the level you were at?
Lampard: Without a doubt, no matter what the player. Whether it's Mason Mount, who I think has a huge career ahead of him, or Richard Keogh, who has been an incredible captain for us. That was my first message and hopefully it has been my message every day.
People talk now about having a winning mentality and all that stuff, but it only comes with a day-to-day work ethic. I tried to play with that and get everything out of my career that I could every day, and that's what I want to see in my players.
I can't complain either with the squad I've got and the attitude they have shown from day one. We have made a lot of changes, some in personnel and a lot in how we want to play and that takes a lot of hours on the training ground. They have had to buy into it and what we have got back has been great. That is why we are in the play-off final.
Redknapp: Take us back to that first game, which probably feels like years ago now! I remember watching it on Sky Sports and seeing your emotion afterwards. You were done up so smart at the start and I was thinking you looked immaculate! Then by the end of it your tie was everywhere and you and Jody [Morris] were jumping up and down. Did that win at Reading make you realise that this is what you want?
Lampard: It really did. It does feel like such a long time ago! We touched on mistakes a bit earlier and I must admit after that game that I thought we'd cracked it! We were very average in the first half and okay in the second to get ourselves level, then we nicked it at the end.
Then I remember thinking it was great and we were top of the league, but only because we were the only team that had played! It was an amazing start, but it's needless to say that I have certainly been brought down to earth on numerous occasions since this season.
Redknapp: There have been a lot of highs, though. I remember going to Old Trafford and seeing you against your former mentor, if you like, Jose Mourinho. That win must have given you and your players a lot of confidence.
Lampard: For sure. To be able to do that at that level in that area was huge for our confidence. We didn't win on the back foot either, we won by controlling the game and playing really good football, with character and quality. It all started to lift for us after that game and it was a big deal for us to go there and win.
Redknapp: There was a moment where it looked like you might miss out on the play-offs, but you managed to dig in and get yourself in. Then you got drawn against what, at that point, must have felt like your nemesis in Leeds. How was that?
Lampard: It was really good. We celebrated well afterwards and everyone saw that! But the players deserved it because it was such a big deal for us. There was a lot on that game, there was the history of the two league matches and then 'Spygate', as it was called. That wasn't worth dwelling on to a point, but it was certainly something that added to how we felt about it.
We knew the first leg would be tough and we were the underdogs. We played okay but they still had that feeling that they were a stronger team and could up the gears, while we couldn't quite catch them.
But the few days in between were huge for us. We changed the system, which isn't easy to do in that space of time, and there was a lot of work put in. But then you have to rely on those players to take it all on board, and they did. They played with an energy and a work ethic which made us really proud.
We felt Leeds felt they had won the tie to a degree after the first leg. I don't think Marcelo Bielsa felt that but I think the feeling around the club was that, and rightly so because they had beaten us three times. But we managed to turn it around with a lot of spirit and quality. The fans loved it and we celebrated with them.
Redknapp: And I've got to ask because everyone is talking about it. Did you really pay that bill?
Lampard: [Laughs]. Did you see my diet coke on it! Yeah, I did pay the bill for the lads. But I just want to say there were a lot of numbers there! We invited the media and a lot of people from the club. We spread those Jagerbombs out.
🍻 - 209 beers— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 17, 2019
🥃 - 75 Jaegermeisters
🍸 - 64 shots of Vodka
....and 1 diet coke! 🥤
@dcfcofficials's Frank Lampard took his players out after their play-off semi-final win over @LUFC and it looks like they certainly enjoyed themselves...👀 pic.twitter.com/aujxl99JUn
Redknapp: You have had some incredible moments at Wembley and won so many finals there with Chelsea. How will it feel to go back and walk out there as a manager this time?
Lampard: I can't wait. I'll be nervous, without a doubt, but I'm excited. I'm also delighted for the club and playing Aston Villa there is such a huge day out for both clubs and their fans. But we have a job to do.
I was fortunate enough to have good occasions there as a player, and I have had some bad days as well. But I hope I can enjoy the occasion. My main feeling going into finals is that I don't want us to leave anything out there, or have any regrets. That's what I'll say to the players, don't be sitting at home after thinking you've missed anything.
Redknapp: Talking about people you have trusted and played with... he was your captain, leader, legend. John Terry is going to be stood in the opposite dugout, so how weird is that going to be for you?
Lampard: It will be weird, but good. I want to say I respect Dean Smith because I know him well too, but John has done great. If we get beat I'll happily shake his hand because he has been a friend for a long time and is an incredible professional to play with. I was fortunate enough to have his ability and leadership with me for so long.
I wish him well, but not so much on Monday! But it will be with complete respect. We have texted a bit in the build-up, both saying we can't believe we are there. Afterwards we will sit down and have a good chat about it. And I am sure he will have a long, successful coaching and management career himself.
Redknapp: Compared to all the accolades and medals and success you've had as a player, what would it mean to get promotion?
Lampard: Beating Leeds was amazing and that was just getting to the final! The one thing I always remember when I drove to the city for the first time after taking the job was that it smelt of football. You drive down Brian Clough way, you see a one-club city and they are absolutely desperate for success.
They have been talking about 10 years here and the times they haven't made it, so if we were able to bring that to the city and get them back into the Premier League, in terms of achievement I can't even say how I would feel.
Redknapp: Joking aside now I obviously have to ask you, because everyone is talking about it, about your future. No matter what happens people will talk about Chelsea, so is it difficult dealing with the rumours right now?
Lampard: To be honest it hasn't been difficult really. I've not been paying a lot of attention to it. I'm aware of it obviously and I had some earlier in the season because, with my history with Chelsea, it is an obvious link to make.
I also don't mind as it means I must be doing something right, because Chelsea are a serious club. But in terms of how it makes me feel it changes nothing. We have a huge game and I want to make it absolutely clear that nothing has changed towards the amount of work we have done to prepare.
I have had so much support from Mel this season and I have so much respect from and for this club. Whatever happens on Monday I am going to sit down and look at how this club moves forward, because I have two years left on my contract.
Redknapp: I can't wait to come to the game. It is going to be a huge occasion and I'm so proud of you, mate. You've done so well. I wish you lots of success and thanks so much for spending this time with me.
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