How big will this night be for Frank Lampard?
“I’m sure it will be a big night for him, for sure. Very similar to me when I first came with West Ham many years ago. I’m sure he’s very much looking forward to playing the game tomorrow.
“We’re looking forward as well. We’re very pleased to welcome him. He’s a legend of the club. He’s done so much for the club. We really wish him continuously well as a coach.
“On a personal note I can only say it’s been a pleasure for me to have him as a companion. We spent some time together not only on the pitch but also on the training ground.
“It’s not surprise for me he’s doing well and he’s going to do well in the new role in football. He’s always had a great attitude towards the game, towards what has to be done to become good in the game. Very pleased and looking forward.”
And also Jody Morris…
“I didn’t forget, I didn’t want to forget Jody. Absolutely he’s the perfect match for him (Lampard). I don’t know Jody as a coach, because I didn’t come across him.
“Everybody at the club here speaks very highly about his coaching abilities. And from what I see, the way Derby play, they’re really doing a great job together.”
How will you stop Derby County doing what they did to Manchester United?
“We’re going to study them. We know their strengths. And we’re going to be working on that. We certainly respect their value, they’re a very good team. The way they play football.
“They have good players, like, for example, Mason Mount, he belongs to Chelsea. Also Lawrence, Wilson, Nugent. We know they have a lot of quality up front. We have to play the game with a lot of respect for them, otherwise, it will be trouble.”
How good was Eden Hazard’s goal at Liverpool in the previous round?
“It was an amazing goal. The finishing, the power, the ability to go through so many players. It was exceptional. Like myself, everybody was stunned.
“We didn’t expect anything from that situation. This is the ability of players like Eden. They can turn into a goal something from somewhere nobody would see a goal. That’s the ability of special players and we are very happy that we have one of them.”
The flags are at half mast after the death of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Chelsea had a similar situation with the death of Matthew Harding, was he involved in your deal to come to Chelsea?
“No. I don’t think so as far as I know. He died three weeks before I came. My deal was done very quickly. I know for sure he was such an important person for the club, a key figure for the club when the club needed him most. I personally met his wife and it was a pleasure.”
Was there a lot of grief around the club at the time?
“I thought personally the club was coping very well. It was in a good moment. It was a club really going in the right direction. This is also down to him. He wasn’t there when I was, but I was enjoying a good time in Chelsea also because of him. Everybody recognized that.”
“I understand as a club we are very close to what happened to Leicester. We really hope something good will happen to them, like many years ago happened to us, when a tragedy like this happened. Sometimes things like that can make a group stronger. This is what I really wish for them.”
What is Sarri like on the training ground?
“First of all, nothing is a coincidence. Sarri was known as a coach that works very hard with his team. He really pays attention to everything. The consequence of him doing well is because of his ability to work hard with his team. On top of that, you have to add that the team is following his advice very well.
“Players are getting benefit from what they do. You can see, for example, Ross Barkley, now Ruben. Many other players are picking up very well. They are enjoying the type of football he’s trying to implement here and they find a lot of benefit. This is creating a good work environment. And the results are only a consequence of this.”
How is Eden Hazard?
“He’s certainly much better. Not sure today, maybe tomorrow he’s going to join us in training. I don’t think he’s going to be involved in the game tomorrow, but he’s looking quite good for the weekend. We are pleased because he’s such an important player for us.”
Other team news?
“There is Pedro, who has had a stomach ache. He came off Sunday. He was getting better, but there is still a little problem. We don’t know. We can assess him tomorrow.
“Also Olivier Giroud he has a little fatigue problem with one of the legs. We’re going to assess him tomorrow as well. Amapdu has been back in training yesterday. Today or tomorrow we’re going to decide whether he’s going to be part of the team. We’re going to leave it until tomorrow morning.”
Do you see similarities between Ross Barkley and Frank Lampard?
“I thought Frank Lampard making the box was exceptional. The best midfielder I’ve ever seen having that quality, attacking the box, getting in the box in the right moment. That’s why he scored so many goals.
“Ross likes to play more with the ball, to be involved in the action. What I’ve seen in the last two, three weeks is scoring ability is coming on very well. I knew from the beginning he had this ability.
“At first it wasn’t showing, because he was very much involved in learning tactically what the team needs him to do. Now he’s getting that freedom. I think there are some differences between him and Frank. Although there are similarities. Both of them have unbelievable potential.”
How impressed have you been with Mason Mount?
“I came across him when I first came here. I was analysing the players we had on loan. He was one of the first players I analysed. And I said ‘this player is for us’.
“This was the plan, to keep him at least for pre-season with us. But then an opportunity to send him to play in England in such a competitive league like the Championship came and the club decided it was good for him.
“I like him very much, because he’s one of those players that has the mental speed to work out things very quickly. You can see that in the way he plays.
“Physically he has to improve. The Premier League is a different level. But he’s getting on very well. I’m pleased for him. And I’m looking forward to seeing him tomorrow playing at Stamford Bridge. I’m sure he’ll be up for it and it will be important to get even more indications for us.”
Did you think Frank Lampard would become a manager?
“I think you can understand when somebody has a future in this position because to succeed as a coach you really need to have the ability to think over things, to spend a lot of time thinking over things.
“It seemed to me that Frank has always had this ability. As a player he had a lot of physicality and technicality, but also he used to spend time and dedicate a lot of energies on football, not only on the pitch, but also off the pitch. These are qualities very important for the job he’s doing. It seems to me he’s coping very well.”
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