Although the English football season has been on hold for some time now, Frank Lampard has not stopped working and planning with the players and his tight-knit backroom team, adapting to the challenges we are all facing in the most-effective way possible. It has also given him time to reflect on things, and during the period of lockdown, he gave this interview on life as a coach and other matters to Chelsea magazine.
How do you handle the ever-present scrutiny from club management, fans, media and others?
You have to handle it in your own way. There’s no other way to do it because you can’t try to be something you’re not, or think that nothing will affect you. It does. There are huge pressures in the job and I understood that very quickly, firstly at Derby, and when I came to Chelsea I saw it was a level up at a club that is fighting towards the top of the Premier League. It is much bigger and things get consumed by it – your home life gets consumed, and you just have to handle it as well as you can, and not let it affect you in a negative way.
I don’t think you should be absolutely closed to it, because sometimes you can pick out good things from scrutiny, whether you agree with it or not. So I don’t completely close my ears to it, but what I’ve really noticed is that the fall-out from games is so much driven by the result.
So I generally go on how I feel about the game and make that the important thing. I feel better about some of the games that we’ve lost or drawn than I do about some of the ones that we’ve won. I try not to be led too much by the scrutiny from the outside – you have to respect it for what it is because you can’t manage a club the size of Chelsea and think you’re going to make every Chelsea fan, every outside fan and every pundit happy. I listen to it a bit, but the main thing is to stay focused on the job you’re doing, and after every game, you analyse it, then look to the next one – simple as that.’
What are the lessons you are taking home in this novel season?
I’ve learned so much this year. The pandemic is obviously a crazy situation and the biggest thing it’s taught us is perspective – the fact that, actually, what’s really important is togetherness and family. I think that’s been a good thing for me to be reminded of because I get so invested in the job.
I just saw it as an opportunity to come to a place that I love and give it my best shot. I was confident. I knew that it would be tough to make it into the top four, and we weren’t expected to by people on the outside, but I wanted to give it a go and prove some people wrong.
Along the way, it’s been easy to cast your eye at the younger players coming into the team, but I also think some of the performances by the more experienced players in the team – the likes of Kovacic, Jorginho, Willian – I don’t have to name them all, but you can go through the squad and there’s been some real big plusses out of it. I don’t want to dwell on it, though, because my next job is to look ahead