Sunday, August 18, 2019
Match Preview: Chelsea vs Leicester City
Frank Lampard will look to put his difficult start to life at Chelsea behind him when his side return to Stamford Bridge to host Leicester City this weekend in the Premier League.
The former Blues midfielder and club legend took the reins earlier this year in the wake of Maurizio Sarri's exit, having guided Derby County to the Championship play-off final in his first season as a manager.
Yet in his opening two games, he has seen his side thumped 4-0 by old rivals Manchester United and suffer a gruelling penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool in the Super Cup in Istanbul.
Though it's been far from the perfect beginning, Lampard's young charges - with several players given extra prominence as the club continues to serve a transfer ban - have impressed on occassion, giving hope that they are simply struggling due to a tough run of games.
The former England playmaker openly admitted that he was under no illusion that the challenge ahead of him would be a tough one too, stating earlier this week: “Things surprise you in football management every day but the situation has been exactly what I expected.
“I knew about the transfer ban, I knew Eden Hazard had left the club, I knew we were losing two strikers in Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain and I knew we couldn't buy anyone. I knew we had five or six major injuries.
“I knew all that but the last thing I want to be is negative. I want us to be competitive this year and we still have a strong squad. We have to be a bit patient because those other factors are there. But that doesn't mean we can't go out there with that competitive head on and challenge in everything that we do. My job is to focus on the task at hand.”
The visit of the Foxes - one of a handful of sides tipped to potentially crack the Premier League's "big six" this season, arguably at the expense of Chelsea - presents a different kind of challenge to that of United or Liverpool though, with Brendan Rodgers' side likely to be no pushover on the road.
The former Celtic boss however has backed his opposite number to succeed, describing him as 'perfect' for the job at hand.
"I think Frank has done very well since he has gone in," he stated. "This is a team that finished third and won the Europa League. I think Frank is perfect for it. He and Jody [Morris], they understand the fabric of Chelsea, what it's about.
"You go with your gut feeling. He's been around a long time. He understands the club, the expectancy. He's a hero for the supporters. He'll want to win and succeed as a manager. He's got great staff around him who also understand Chelsea and then he'll have that support."
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