Lampard Exceeds All Expectations as Chelsea Manager

It’s high time Frank Lampard got a round of applause for his start to life at Chelsea.

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It’s high time Frank Lampard got a round of applause for his start to life at Chelsea.

With just one year of managerial experience under his belt, young Frank is exceeding all expectations at Stamford Bridge after victory over Watford put them on an seven-game winning streak in all competitions.

Well, all competitions that matter anyway... Chelsea’s sole blemish since late September coming in a 2-1 defeat to Man Utd in the League Cup.

But Lampard is not getting carried away with the side's early-season form:

If you want to be top four and you want to be where we do want to be, you have to show consistency. And that's why I'm not getting over excited with the winning run because we've got a long way to go.

Lampard's task at Chelsea was never an easy one with the club under a transfer ban, compounded by its best player Eden Hazaard departing for pastures new, the new boss had to find players from the Blues' own youth system - something rarely done at Stamford Bridge.

And yet, Lampard is succeeding where Maurizio Sarri failed last season - he’s making Chelsea exciting to watch.

The great thing I see at the minute, the most pleasing thing is the desire for improvement, the desire to take in information, young players, the desire to follow a game plan and all those things. And I think we're moving in the right direction.

The right direction is up, with Chelsea entering the top four for the first time with a win over Newcastle in October, and since have extended the gap over fifth-placed Arsenal to six points.

You know you get asked your aims. We know we want to be challenging in the top four. And from a slightly difficult start that we had it's a good sign that we're moving in the right direction in all senses, in terms of performance and in terms of results. But all that must do is be an incentive for us because football can change in an instant so our arrival into top four must only give us the hunger stay there and move on.

Lampard’s modesty in his early success has also set him apart. He has demonstrated an understanding of just how inconsistent the youth he must rely on can be - while at the same time, nurturing and guiding them.

After all, he was like them once when he took his first steps at West Ham, and knows the pitfalls they must navigate - including a bit of backlash when performances don’t go to plan.

There’s no better example of Lampard’s expertise in this area than Christian Pulisic, who backed up his perfect hat-trick against Burnley with a disappointing game against Manchester United in that League Cup loss, yet bounced back with the winning goal against Watford at the weekend.

But it’s not only the Premier League that Lampard has taken to with aplomb, but the Champions League too. Right up until the 4-4 draw against a 9-man Ajax of course. But before that chaotic clash, results against Lille, and away to last years semi-finalists in Amsterdam, Lampard didn’t look out of place at all.

I think we were entitled to be excited tonight about how we played, and it's a bit of a blueprint for us, in terms of us, as I say, the work of the midfield players was outstanding. The work of the wingers was outstanding. The work of the fullbacks, getting out to people, top, top players and stopping them making passes and easy decisions was absolutely outstanding.

Lampard has been quoted as having taken on some of the lessons learned from his managers when he was a player - the man-management of José Mourinho, and the personability of Carlo Ancelotti. So it is perhaps little surprise that Chelsea’s faith in Lampard has been rewarded, just as his faith in youth has been.

These young players, I really believe in them. I believe in their quality. I believe in them as young men. They have really fantastic attitudes and they're a joy to coach. And if we can get them right and if we can get things around them right then hopefully we can we can push on.

There’s still plenty of pitfalls ahead for the Blues, but the main one, may not come around until the end of the season when they can again flex their financial muscle in the transfer market, but if these first few months of 2019-20 count for anything, this could be the beginning of something new at Stamford Bridge... when the academy finally trumps Roman Abramovich’s cheque book.