Club legend Frank Lampard appointed Chelsea manager
Chelsea appointed Frank Lampard as their manager yesterday, as owner Roman Abramovich turned to a fan favourite rather than an experienced hand to replace Maurizio Sarri.
Lampard, adored by Chelsea fans as the heart and soul of the club's midfield during a trophy-laden 13 years at Stamford Bridge, was handed a three-year contract after leaving second-tier Derby County.
Said the 41-year-old: "I am immensely proud to be returning to Chelsea as head coach.
"Everyone knows my love for this club and the history we have shared. However, my sole focus is on the job in hand and preparing for the season ahead."
A relative rookie as a manager, Lampard earned plaudits for taking Derby into the Championship play-off final in his first year in the dugout - even if they just missed out on promotion to the English Premier League.
The ex-England midfielder faces no small task in returning Chelsea to the status of EPL title contenders, following Sarri's departure to Juventus and Eden Hazard's move to Real Madrid.
His rebuilding efforts at Chelsea will also be hampered by a Fifa transfer ban.
Lampard's cousin Jamie Redknapp, a fellow former England midfielder, said patience would be key.
He told Sky Sports: "You'll have to be patient and I think everyone will be, because it is Frank Lampard.
"The players will respect him, but patience will be the key because Chelsea are a hiring and firing club, no matter what you say... It almost feels like they may have to change that process and say from the outset Frank's going to be given time...
"To say this year he's got to get in the top four and things like that, I think that's unfair. You have to be realistic."
Lampard's former Blues teammate Emmanuel Petit, however, was less optimistic, pointing to the example of fellow ex-teammate Thierry Henry, who was a disaster at his boyhood club AS Monaco last season.
He said: " I have a feeling the Chelsea job could have come too soon for him...
"He has only just become a manager and needs more experience - with all due respect to Derby, it's not the same managing them as Chelsea...
"He's arriving at Chelsea at a bad time because he may not have money to spend and Hazard has already left. It could be a tough season for him...
"We've seen what happened to Thierry Henry at Monaco and the same thing could happen to Frank." - REUTERS