Frank Lampard has said that the way Jose Mourinho bonded with him as a young player has given him an example to follow with his own Chelsea youngsters.
Lampard will manage against his mentor on Sunday when Chelsea make their first trip to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Mourinho’s side able to leapfrog the Blues on goal difference with a win.
The relationship between Lampard and Mourinho has come under scrutiny ahead of kick-off and the former has said that the latter is a role model in how he deals with his Chelsea players, many of whom are in the early stages of their careers.
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“I suppose when you say is there anything I take from Jose, maybe my answer could have been and should have been that when he first came to Chelsea, I had played under different managers. Harry Redknapp was my uncle, so that relationship was there, but he was the first manager that day-to-day made me feel really close to him.
“We worked on the mental side without working on it; it was just this confidence that he gave me which forms a bond. He did form a bond with me. Working with the younger players that we have here now, it is my duty to try and form my bond with them.
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“They are at the start of their journey and career. They need to look up to, not just myself, but the staff and know what it takes to get to where they want to be, so if I can form that bond with the players [then it is good].
“I love all the young boys here; they are all really good players so I try to do that.”
Several academy players have been brought through this season including Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori, and Lampard is known for his close bonds with them. He gave an insight into how he bridges the gap between player and coach through his style of communication.
“It is just a constant. It is a constant with how you are with them every day,” he added. “How much you want to work with them on the training ground. How much you want to maybe sometimes delve into their personal lives, have a word about it and make sure that they are OK.
“I think all those things where they feel comfortable with the way they interact with you is huge. I think that’s a line you have to make sure you get right and I like to think I do. But, you would have to ask the players that.
“It is not like I am hanging about with them playing PlayStation and stuff! I do draw the line somewhere.”
Perhaps the greatest example of the bond built between Mourinho and Lampard was when the Portuguese boss told Lampard during pre-season training in 2004 that he was ‘the best midfielder in the world’. Lampard admits those words helped give him the confidence which led to a host of major titles.
“It made me feel great, it made me feel great. Moments like that, it becomes very easy as you get older to not jump back into the 24-year-old’s head and understand what things like that make them feel.
“It doesn’t have to be you are the best player in the world but it is positive talking in some ways about where they want to get to with an overlying edge about the way you work every day. When Jose said that to me, it wasn’t like I went and did step-overs all day. It was drive, drive, drive and to try to be that and win titles.
“It was a really well-put message, so yes, I would try to do that with players. His imprint on the squad and what he did to us in his time at the club us was huge, of course!
“He took a very talented team that came second the year before that was bursting as a club to win the title and he played a massive part in that. We won back-to-back titles in a fantastic way and, of course, as manager he takes huge credit.”