Lampard: Management is much harder than being a player

The legendary former Chelsea midfielder says he gets “50 problems a day” as the head coach at Stamford Bridge

Frank Lampard has expressed his belief that management is much harder than being a player, with the Chelsea boss admitting that being in charge at Stamford Bridge is far more “consuming”. 

Lampard enjoyed a hugely successful 13-year career at Chelsea during his playing days, during which he became the club’s all-time record goalscorer, despite being a midfielder.

The ex-England international, who moved to the Bridge from West Ham in 2001, helped the Blues win 13 trophies in total, including three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League.

Lampard left Chelsea in 2014, and went on to take in spells at Manchester City and New York City before hanging up his boots for good in February 2017.

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He took up his first head coaching role at Derby County the following year, and guided the Rams to a sixth-place Championship finish in his first season at Pride Park, but they ultimately missed out on promotion after losing the play-off final against Aston Villa at Wembley.

Chelsea saw enough promise in the 42-year-old to bring him back to the club last summer, when he was appointed on a three-year deal following the departure of Maurizio Sarri.

The Blues managed a fourth-place Premier League finish in 2019-20 under Lampard, who received widespread praise for promoting a number of academy stars amid a FIFA-imposed transfer ban.

He has been able to invest heavily in new recruits since the lifting of that ban earlier this year, with the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Thiago Silva now helping the team reach new heights at the start of their latest campaign.

Lampard has thoroughly enjoyed his early years in management, but admits that he had no idea how intense coaching would be after living in a comfortable “bubble” as a player.

“The life of a player is a bubble of selfishness to a degree,” he told BBC Sport. “The facts and reality is I realise now it’s much harder than playing in terms of it being consuming.

“The life of a manager is 25 people in the squad, staff in the building, problems with different departments. It’s so far removed from football.

“When you work for your coaching badges, you have to put time in. Then when you start doing it, you have to practise, you have to fail, get better, fail and have relationships with people you never had as a player.

“Players can easily sit there and say they want to be a manager, then they start the road and say: ‘Actually, I want to be a pundit.’ I respect it because being a pundit is tough as well but in terms of management I wanted to test the water.

“A manager gets 50 problems a day. It’s much more consuming but I love it and couldn’t live without it.”

Lampard acknowledges the fact his status as a Chelsea legend played a huge part in his appointment, but he is well aware that he won’t survive in the role on his reputation alone.

“I can be really open that it helped me get the job – playing 13 years at the club helped me get the job,” he added.

“I had to put my ego at the door a bit and say that I might ruin what I achieved in 13 years to a degree – because if it doesn’t go well, I will be judged harshly and quickly.

“I am so driven personally that my biggest fear is myself. If I try to pull the wool over your eyes as Chelsea manager, it’s not going to work.

“My football career put me in a decent position. So if that job is taken away from me, as long as I go in thinking ‘can I do the best job?’ then I think that if I have done the best I can, I will be pretty happy.”

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