Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has come to the defense of his former mentor Jose Mourinho ahead of the top of the table with Tottenham on Sunday. Mourinho has faced increasing scrutiny over his tactics and his style of man management, but his Spurs side has answered the critics in recent weeks.
In his first spell at Chelsea, Mourinho helped develop Lampard into a world-class player which allowed him to become the club’s all-time leading scorer with 211 goals.
- Al Ahly vs SC Zamalek: Kick-off, TV channel, live score, squad news, and preview
- Nigeria drop three places on the latest Fifa ranking
- ‘Years of hard work now paying off’ – Balogun happy after first Arsenal goal
- Arsenal boss Arteta pleased with Pepe after ‘negative’ incident against Leeds United
Lampard believes Mourinho remains a top manager even after a difficult end of his second spell with Chelsea and problems during his time at Manchester United. “Of course he is [still a top manager],” Lampard said in his pre-match press conference. “You don’t have a record as decorated as Jose Mourinho has a manager without being a very talented coach.
“For all of us, the game is so reactionary at the moment, and particularly in the modern era with social media reactions form will always be judged very harshly for any manager. Tottenham is in good form. They are on a good run; they have good players, they have a good manager.
“It will be a very difficult game for us. I played in the fixture many a time, and the fact we’re in good form towards the top of the table adds spice, we’re in positions we want to be in and we’re all fighting for those. “So it’s a game that remains special for those reasons, and the league positions, of course, all eyes will be drawn to it.”
The positive words come after a touchline row between Lampard and Mourinho at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Carabao Cup this season. Last season, Mourinho used his trademark mind games on Lampard and claimed he knew the line up his former player would use. After losing the match, he went onto say that Lampard claimed success by using ‘the Conte formation’.
Having seen him use similar tactics on other managers as his player, Lampard says it doesn’t damage his relationship with Mourinho. “I am not surprised about anything in management,” he added. “We all have similar jobs to do. We all sit in these press conferences and have our own personalities. I have got respect for Jose as a manager. That’s just how it is.
“I didn’t take any offense to the fact I used ‘Antonio Conte’s system’ or whatever. I play that system clearly a lot differently from how Conte would have done. Jose can have his opinions but I have got respect for him and it is nothing contentious for me.”