October 22, 2021

Lampard grateful for Cech help as he aims to end first season as Chelsea manager with FA Cup glory

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The Blues boss has put his all into this season, but praised the club’s former goalkeeper who is working in the shadows to help kickstart a new era

Frank Lampard has not received any special communications from Roman Abramovich since qualifying for the Champions League and getting to the FA Cup final, as he talks with Petr Cech on the future of Chelsea.

Cech arrived in the same summer as Lampard to help supply his football knowledge in decision making at board level, which extends to transfers. Ultimately though, deals are decided by the club’s director Marina Granovskaia.

Granovskaia signs off on any deal and is heavily involved in all aspects of the process, having already signed both Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech for a combined fee of £84 million (€94m/$110m), with talks ongoing with Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz.

Lampard says that Cech has helped him adapt to the most unfamiliar part of management, which is the business and recruitment side, while explaining that it is a slick operation running behind the scenes even without the owner’s constant input.

“I wouldn’t expect anything [from Abramovich],” Lampard told reporters ahead of Saturday’s clash at Wembley with Arsenal. “I have a very close relationship with Marina and with Petr. That relationship has been really good and it’s been a real strength.

“It feels like a real strength in the camp that I can speak to Petr regularly. I can speak with Marina and work in a joined-up way in taking the club forward. All of that will come through the owner; it’s his club. It helps a great deal [having technical and performance advisor Cech].

“In terms of on the grass and on the training pitch and working with players and all around the game and how we prepare, I feel that’s somewhere where my playing experience helped me a huge amount because I was trying to take things in all the time.

“Relationships with people upstairs, they are different so I have to say I am very happy to have Petr here because I know him so well, because we get on well, because I trust and value his world and how we speak. There is a real honesty about how we work and how we can speak to each other.

“I trust that he’s been a winner and he knows what it takes to win and I think we have something in common over how we have a real desire to get to that. So, yeah, it’s felt like a strength for us this year. We will be judged, of course, on results as we move forwards but it will certainly not be for want of trying that we want to bring success to the club.

“We work towards the aims that we know and the standards of this club. I am a big boy. I am in this job and I know that there are demands. I would always be ready to take any call or have any meeting because this is my life and I am obsessed with how I can get this club to where it wants to be.

“Coming in the top four, I think we all felt was something we really aimed for this year and we managed to achieve it. Sometimes it was difficult, but I don’t need a phone call or a message or recognition like that because my job when we come fourth this year is to think about how we come higher than fourth next year and close the gap.

“It’ll be similar with whatever the result will be against Arsenal, whether we line or lose, my job is to think what does the next day look like or what does the next season look like. I feel the support from the owner. I have felt it him from the moment I took the job.

“I felt it for many years as a player. I am happy if I can make him happy. Last Sunday was a step forward in where we are right now and I want to continue making those steps. I don’t need those calls [with the owner], but I’ll be there if they are to be had.”

Chelsea’s players celebrated a fourth-place finish in the Premier League which earned them qualification for next season’s Champions League, and the lucrative windfall that accompanies it.

Still, having come from Chelsea’s most successful era, Lampard was cautious to over celebrate the achievement of a top-four finish as he believes consistently winning trophies should be the aim for the west Londoners.

He said: “We can’t just claim we’re going to be title contenders, even next year there’s a gap to close before we start having those conversations. Do we want to win titles here every year? Yes, of course, we do.

“The fact that we’re in a cup final means we’re close to maybe doing that this year. I hope that I can bring us forward to a point where expecting titles every year includes expecting Premier League titles. We’re not at that position now and that’s where I want to get to and that is going to be a process.”

To get to that point, Lampard has been obsessive in his work, having known what it takes after winning 11 major honours and becoming Chelsea’s all-time top goalscorer in his 13 years as a player for the Stamford Bridge club.

“I work hard here – as hard as I can,” he said. “I don’t want to miss anything. I am very hands-on in terms of how I do this job and on the training pitch and being across as much as I can be. I rely on people around me but I can’t just go home and put my laptop down and pick it up again the next morning.

“At the moment, my wife is working on TV so she is making her notes for two or three hours every evening and I am doing my prep for training the next day. That’s how exciting our lives are at the minute. I feel that’s the only way I can do it.

“When I look around, I don’t know what the top managers do when they get home, but I bet they aren’t flicking on Netflix and watching series after series. I think they are thinking about their team and how they can get better. I try and do as much as I can to get us to be as good as we can be.”

That work may all be worth it if he can win his first major honour as a manager in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal.