Frank Lampard admitted managing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was the “stuff of dreams” and made a surprising declaration after the draw with Leicester.
The former midfielder, who played close to 650 games for the Blues, was taking charge at home for the first time since his summer appointment but had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Leicester.
After a 4-0 loss at Manchester United last week and a penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool in the Super Cup in midweek, Lampard is still to taste victory and, as good as their first-half display was against the Foxes, their second-half struggle highlights the size of the task he faces.
It had seemed like a win was written in the stars as, after the pageantry of his arrival into the dugout, with chants of ‘Super Frank Lampard’ ringing around the stadium and banners held aloft, Mason Mount gave Chelsea a deserved early lead.
But Leicester, orchestrated by the impressive James Maddison, showed why they are tipped to make a challenge for the top six this season as Wilfred Ndidi made up for an error in the build-up to Chelsea’s goal with the equaliser after the break.
Lampard said: “It felt great, it is a special moment for me to come back to the club and manage them at Stamford Bridge, of course it is the stuff of dreams.
“For me it is a huge thing, but my focus today was on the match and trying to win.
“Thanks very much to the fans, I appreciate that, but I am here to do a job and here to try and win for the club and we can do better than we did today.
“We can do better than we did for 60 minutes today and we will do for sure.”
Lampard is the first Chelsea manager since Rafael Benitez seven years ago not to win any of his first three games in charge, but he is expecting patience.
“It’s a results business,” he added. “It’s strange because the performance against Manchester United overall made me happier than today even though it was a 4-0 result. We need both.
“There were frustrations. If there were frustrations in the crowd, there were frustrations in the team and on the bench.”
“We’re working in one way here and we want to do well. We know that in the circumstances that there are some tough elements this year.
“We couldn’t bring players in, I couldn’t as a new manager bring any players to help push the way I’m thinking, we lost Eden (Hazard) and he was so pivotal to this club.
“I think everyone’s understanding of that and we will be patient, but again I don’t want to use that as the huge factor.”
Leicester were outplayed in the first half, but did enough to win the game after the break as Maddison came into the fore.
He created Ndidi’s equaliser, missed a golden chance to win it himself and also created a fine opportunity for Jamie Vardy.
Brendan Rodgers felt his side should have ruined Lampard’s homecoming totally.
“We should have won it. It was a tough start for us, Frank got a great reaction which fed into the players and we struggled to get into it,” the former Liverpool and Celtic boss said.
“We had to hang in there in the opening minutes but after that we gained composure.
“Second half I thought we were very, very good, defensively. We didn’t give away much and then we created a number of good chances to win the game.
“A point was the least we deserved, I am proud of the boys we should have won the game.
“The top six is always going to be difficult, but we have got to be aggressive and dominate, whatever arena you are playing in, home or away, and you saw that from my team today.
“I know how tough it is to come here.”