Frank Lampard: My blueprint for success at Chelsea
Watch Frank Lampard's first match as a Premier League manager when Man Utd host Chelsea on Renault Super Sunday, live from 4pm on Sky Sports Premier League; Kick-off at 4.30pm
By Patrick Davison & Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 11/08/19 5:26pm
Frank Lampard takes charge of his first Premier League game as Chelsea manager against Manchester United on Renault Super Sunday. It's a path trodden by many in the past, but as he explains exclusively to Sky Sports, his reign will be different, in his image and his alone.
Lampard arrived at Chelsea in 2001 from West Ham for £11m, a snip in today's inflated market but a fee that caused a stir in some quarters at the turn of the century.
It was argued that the fresh-faced 22-year-old did not represent value for money. His career would go on to suggest otherwise. Over 13 trophy-laden years at Stamford Bridge, he won all there was to win.
It's a career looks back on with pride and insists should inspire the current crop of Chelsea players, but it's not one that he will use as a blueprint for success at the club he calls home.
"I don't believe in harking back to previous eras because everything changes," he said.
"For me to reel off players like Didier Drogba, John Terry and Petr Cech etc is pretty pointless. I am not setting my expectations on anything that has gone.
"When the players walk through the corridor, they should look at the pictures of them with trophies and be inspired without a doubt, but I don't think you can rely on that or set a tone on that.
"We are a different bunch of players, I am a manager now and I want it to be my way, that's why I am here in the job.
"I have to put my point across, how I want us to play, how I want us to train, how I want the group to be day to day. I want to set something up now that is successful going forward."
But what does success look like to a manager who, as a player, won everything? Well, for Lampard, it's a relatively simple formula.
"It's to improve daily," he adds. "There are a lot of young players and improvement to be had, so that will be the first success. The second will be to be competitive like Chelsea generally are. We want to compete, we set out to try and win the league and the competitions we are in.
"We've got a group here I believe a lot in. I know we have a transfer ban and a lot of the talk around us has been questioning what we can do, but I certainly believe in the squad. We know the bar has been raised by Manchester City and Liverpool last season and there is the challenge - can we close the gap?"
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While it's all well and good identifying what success looks like, it's another matter establishing how Lampard goes about securing it. This will become clear as his first season as a Premier League manager unfolds, but you can guarantee he will be as belligerent in the dugout as he was on the pitch.
After all, this is the man who still takes great pride in having extracted every ounce out of his playing career, an unrelenting quest that left him relishing retirement away from the pressures he imposed on himself.
"I will do my best," he adds. "I'm not going to jump into the future because, as we know, this is a tough business and there are expectations everywhere. But I will certainly give all I can, that's how I did it in my playing career, I tried to work as hard as I could get and get every ounce out of myself and I will do the same as a manager.
"This is the club where I played for 13 years and I love the opportunity I've got because this is home and I want to do well. To do well, you've got to put a lot of hours in and focus, that's why I am giving as much as I possibly can into this job to try and make a success of it.
"I will try and motivate, work as hard as I can on the training pitch, and then I believe, and the players should believe, that we can do something special."
Only time will tell whether Lampard's best is good enough, but if his formula gets Chelsea anywhere the standard he set as a player, a special kind of success - one forged in his own image - could be on its way to Stamford Bridge.