Frank Lampard talks of Chelsea love as legend’s return is confirmed

Date published: Thursday 4th July 2019 9:17

Frank Lampard has been appointed head coach at Chelsea, being handed a three-year contract at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard, 41, has left Championship side Derby to take over at a club where he spent 13 years as a player.

He succeeds Maurizio Sarri, who left the London giants in June to take charge of Italian champions Juventus.

Lampard led Derby to the Championship play-off final, where they lost to Aston Villa, in his first season as a manager.

The former England international made 648 appearances for the Blues, winning an mimpressive 11 major trophies with them.

He takes over with Chelsea under a transfer embargo after the club were given a two-window transfer ban by FIFA – a decision they are appealing against at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Lampard acknowledged his successful past with the club but insisted he is only thinking about moving forwards following his appointment.

“I am immensely proud to be returning to Chelsea as head coach,” he said.

“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.

“I am here to work hard, bring further success to the club and I cannot wait to get started.”

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia hailed Lampard as “one of the most talented young coaches” around today as she welcomed him back to the club.

“It gives us great pleasure to welcome Frank back to Chelsea as head coach,” she said in the statement announcing his appointment.

“Frank possesses fantastic knowledge and understanding of the club and last season, he demonstrated he is one of the most talented young coaches in the game.

“After 13 years with us as a player, where he became a club legend and our record goalscorer, we believe this is the perfect time for him to return and are delighted he has done so.

“We will do everything we can to ensure he has all the support required to be a huge success.”

Lampard takes over from Sarri, who endured a frosty relationship with the majority of Chelsea fans during his reign despite leading the club to the Europa League title, the Carabao Cup final and a third-place Premier League finish.

Chelsea are also in the midst of appealing against a transfer ban imposed by FIFA following irregularities in the signing of young players.

Unless an appeal is successful at some point, Lampard will be unable to recruit new players in the next two transfer windows.

His first competitive game in charge will come at Old Trafford as Chelsea meet Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United on the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign.

Lampard came through the youth ranks at West Ham before moving across London to sign for Chelsea in 2001, enjoying a trophy-laden decade once Roman Abramovich purchased the club in 2004.

He initially left Chelsea to join New York City in Major League Soccer, but returned to the Premier League with a loan spell at their parent club Manchester City.

His first goal for City was an 85th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea, with Lampard opting not to celebrate.

He spent two years in MLS before retiring, and fulfilled television punditry and other roles until being appointed Derby boss last year.

Addressing the club’s supporters in a short Twitter video on the Stamford Bridge pitch, Lampard said: “I’m delighted to be back, so many great memories of this place. The new role starts here and I can’t wait to get started. See you soon.”

Derby confirmed an “undisclosed compensation package” had been agreed – with Jody Morris and first-team coach Chris Jones following Lampard to Chelsea.

“Frank, along with Jody and Chris, leave with our best wishes and I sincerely hope they have success at Chelsea,” Derby’s executive chairman Mel Morris told dcfc.co.uk.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with Frank and while we would have loved his time at Derby County to continue, to build on the positives we saw last season, the opportunity for him to return to Chelsea as their head coach was huge.”

Lampard also offered his thanks to those at Derby as he made the move back to SW6.

He said: “I would like to say a special thank you to Mel Morris, the players, staff and everyone who is associated with Derby County Football Club.

“It has been a fantastic experience for me, and I feel privileged to have managed such a prestigious club.

“Most of all, I want to thank the fans who supported me and the team from the day I arrived in the city. I wish everyone the best of luck going forward.”

 

Read more: The agent of Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho has addressed speculation claiming his client is in line for a move to PSG this summer.

 

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