Frank Lampard has responded to speculation over his future at Chelsea by saying he would have continued to work as a television pundit if he had wanted an easy life.
Although Lampard is under increasing pressure following Chelsea’s defeat by Manchester City last Sunday, he insisted that he preferred the challenges of management to commenting on events from the sidelines. The 42-year-old was in defiant form despite his side’s poor run, rejecting suggestions that his lack of coaching experience was an issue, and said he was not worried about being fired if Morecambe record a shock at Stamford Bridge in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
“I’m very confident in what I do, whether people want to think that I’ve been a manager for two and a half years,” Lampard said. “I’ve been playing football since I could walk, I’ve been playing professionally for 20-odd years and tried to take as much in in those days as I do now.
“I don’t like losing games. On Monday I’m disappointed because we lost a game to a team that were better than us on the day. On Tuesday I wake up and I’m determined to get better. That’s the only way I see it.
“If I didn’t want that challenge I could have sat on the telly and done an easier job. I could have been a pundit commenting on what everyone does with hindsight and whenever I want. And I don’t want to do that. In terms of the game, I don’t want to get involved in what happens if … all I care about is preparing the team for Morecambe.”
Chelsea, who will give Lampard time to arrest the slide, are ninth in the Premier League after losing four of their past six games. Although there is no mutiny in the dressing room, there is concern over the squad’s mood. Olivier Giroud, Antonio Rüdiger, Marcos Alonso and Fikayo Tomori could push to leave this month because of a lack of opportunities.
Lampard, who could name a young team against League Two Morecambe, was part of a strong dressing room when he played for Chelsea. However, he is not worried about player power working against him.
“I realised pretty quickly in this job that whether we win or lose there will be players who will be wanting to play,” Lampard said. “Some will use that with real positivity, some maybe not so much. Some will maybe speak behind backs. I can’t be concerned with that. If there are opportunities for them to leave it will have to be right for them, the club and myself.”
Lampard spoke repeatedly about Chelsea’s rebuild but he added that he could not force the club to give him time. “I don’t think patience is something I can talk about in football,” he said. “My decision is to try to get that tiny bit of improvement every day within the squad. I don’t need to deal too much in patience because those things will be out of my hands.”