A former team-mate of the man expected to return to Stamford Bridge in a coaching capacity has questioned the timing of a Premier League appointment.
Frank Lampard has been warned that a managerial post at Chelsea may have arrived “too soon”, with Emmanuel Petit expecting a Blues icon to face some uncomfortable questions – much like Thierry Henry did when taking the reins at Ligue 1 side Monaco.
It is expected a former favourite at Stamford Bridge will be brought back to west London as successor to Maurizio Sarri.
If that deal is done, then Lampard will take on a demanding Premier League post with just one year of coaching experience under his belt.
He did impress with Derby in 2018-19, leading them to the Championship play-off final, but a sizeable jump up the ladder is set to be made.
Petit, a former team-mate of Lampard at Chelsea, fears that the job about to be taken on by an ex-England international may be too big at this stage of his career, with Arsenal legend Henry held up as an example of how things can go wrong.
“Frank Lampard has many qualities. He’s a very dedicated person, who loves football and has total respect for his team-mates and managers. He is always ambitious,” a man who spent three years with Chelsea between 2001 and 2004 told Paddy Power.
“But somewhere in my mind I have a feeling the Chelsea job could have come too soon for him.
“We saw what he brought to Derby County, leading them to the play-offs, but that wasn’t the end of the story for them and they ended up failing to earn promotion. He’ll face increased expectation at Chelsea, and he knows this, having played for the club for so long.
“He has only just become a manager and needs more experience – with all due respect to Derby, it’s not the same managing them as Chelsea. The environment changes every time you go from one club to another. It’s a huge step for him, and you can’t manage the lives of the players at Stamford Bridge in the same way you can at Derby.
“I haven’t yet seen what his vision is as a manager. His Derby team were well organised and worked together, but tactically I want to see specific things from him in the dugout.
“Added to that, he’s arriving at Chelsea at a bad time because he may not have money to spend and Eden Hazard has already left the club. It could be a tough season for him.
“Frank will be respected because of his past initially – but modern players will always question their manager. They judge their managers all the time. They try to challenge your authority constantly and to question your vision on the pitch. The fact Lampard was a huge figure for Chelsea gives him the power to stand eye-to-eye with his players, who’ll respect him because of his past.
“After a while, they will begin to question his management: your team selection, your tactics, your training methods. We’ve seen what happened to Thierry Henry at Monaco and the same thing could happen to Frank.
“Lampard is a manager now and his decisions will have an impact on his players. The fans will get a huge boost from him being there – he’s a club legend – but if results don’t stand up even the supporters will challenge him. That could happen very quickly.”