Rookie manager returns to Chelsea for a Carabao Cup tie and expects to be reunited with ‘40,000-plus friends’
“It will feel nice,” says Frank Lampard, chuckling a little sheepishly when asked about the inevitable moment when the Chelsea supporters sing his name on his Stamford Bridge homecoming. “I always appreciated it as a player. You work as a player to try to please the fans. They pay the money to come and watch you – they are the club. To be getting that support after, when you are working for an opposing team, yeah … it will be nice.”
The corresponding “Super Frankie Lampard” banner will doubtless be draped across the Matthew Harding Stand, opposite the Shed End, on Wednesday evening. As Lampard puts it, going back to Chelsea with Derby – in only his 19th competitive match as a manager – is a big deal. In his first game in charge, at Reading in August, he masterminded the art of the smash and grab, and since the birth of his daughter, Patricia, six weeks ago, he admits to being torn over formations at 3am while on bottle duty. It has all been quite an induction to life in the technical area. His team are in a good place, though, unbeaten in five matches and having lost once since that penalty shootout win at Old Trafford in the previous round.