EPL

He is definitely the right man - Di Matteo backs Lampard for Chelsea job

By Sports Desk June 15, 2019

Former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has described Frank Lampard as a "great fit" to replace Maurizio Sarri in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

Sarri is reportedly close to leaving Chelsea after less than 12 months at the club amid suggestions he has been enticed back to Serie A by Italian champions Juventus.

Fan favourite Lampard has emerged as the frontrunner to succeed Sarri following a positive first campaign in management with Championship side Derby County, which ended with defeat to Aston Villa in the play-off final.

Some have questioned the 40-year-old's lack of managerial experience, but Di Matteo believes his old team should take a gamble by appointing their former midfielder.

Speaking at the Costa Smeralda Invitational, Di Matteo said: "He's definitely the right man. He's got personality. I followed Derby last year and his team plays very good football. He's got all the experience in the world. 

"It's a great fit. Whether it's right now or not, only time can tell that. You can say it is too early but you have to give people a chance. Frank has got all the tools and I think he will make a lot of people happy if he was the next manager."

Di Matteo, who lifted the Champions League and FA Cup with Chelsea in 2012 during his eight months in charge, is not surprised Sarri is moving on.

The ex-Napoli boss won the Europa League in his debut campaign with the London side and guided them to a third-place finish in the Premier League, but he never truly won over supporters with his style of play.

"That's what the industry is like," Di Matteo said. "People are always moving. I'm not entirely sure what the details are but it looks like he wants to go back to Italy and he has probably had a good offer from Juventus - one of the biggest clubs in Italy and Europe. 

"But Chelsea will find a suitable manager to lead the team."

Related items

  • Griezmann's 'bad intentions' excite Barcelona boss Valverde Griezmann's 'bad intentions' excite Barcelona boss Valverde

    Antoine Griezmann faces a learning curve at Barcelona but Ernesto Valverde was pleased with the glimpses of debut class he saw on Tuesday.

    The LaLiga champions went down to an entertaining 2-1 friendly defeat to Chelsea in Saitama, with Griezmann completing the opening 45 minutes.

    He was flanked by France team-mate Ousmane Dembele and youngster Alex Collado in attack.

    Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong was introduced for his own bow amid a slew of half-time changes.

    "Griezmann has to get used to Barcelona's play," Valverde told a post-match news conference after goals from Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley rendered Ivan Rakitic's stoppage-time strike a consolation.

    "It's easy to see how dangerous he is with the ball. He has bad intentions always for the rival.

    "We need a lot from him but it's the first match. He has to see how we pressure and dominate rivals, but it's the first match."

    LaLiga's 2019-20 schedule gets under way a week after the Premier League and Valverde felt his players being behind Chelsea in their preparations was a key factor in the loss.

    "We started in the right way both halves with a different 11 starters. We were better the first 15 minutes," Valverde said.

    "It was the first match for us, the fourth for Chelsea and we paid for that. The good thing is to see how the new and young players can play.

    "It was a good test in order to compete because it's different from training."

    Speculation continues to link Neymar with a sensational return to Barcelona to form an all-star forward line with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Griezmann.

    Valverde, who overcame the destabilising impact of the Brazil forward leaving Camp Nou to join Paris Saint-Germain at the start of his reign in 2017, refused to be drawn on the matter.

    "Neymar is another club's player, so I don't want to say many things for a player who belongs to another team," he added.

  • Tottenham star Alli confident of pushing past injury problems Tottenham star Alli confident of pushing past injury problems

    Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli believes he has come back stronger from an injury-hit season which took its toll on body and mind.

    England international Alli battled recurring hamstring problems last season, the worst of which kept him sidelined for the entire month of February.

    The issues restricted him to career-low figures for starts and goals in the Premier League and forced manager Mauricio Pochettino to make running alterations in the middle of the park.

    But after a confidence-boosting 45 minutes in the club's opening International Champions Cup clash – a 3-2 victory over Juventus – the 23-year-old thinks the worst is in the past.

    "It was obviously a difficult season for me in terms of injuries," Alli told reporters in Shanghai, where Tottenham will face Manchester United on Thursday.

    "It was the most injuries I've ever had in one season. I've got to use it all to go forward and not think about it in a negative way.

    "Every time I got injured I was trying to come back as strong as I could, to have a break and use the time to work on the things that weren't quite right, keep building and come back stronger.

    "I feel like I've done that. I've got to keep working on those things throughout the season. I feel like I used the time well."

    Alli said watching his team-mates share a rollercoaster ride into the Champions League final meant the anguish was as much psychological as physical.

    "It's the most injuries I've ever had and it's tough not just physically but mentally as well. You have to dig deep," the former MK Dons player said.

    "Sitting in the treatment room and watching the lads train and watching at games is not nice. You obviously want to be out there helping your team.

    "We had a great season as a team but individually I was disappointed to get the injuries. I've got to make sure that doesn't happen again."

  • Kante recovery progressing well, says Lampard Kante recovery progressing well, says Lampard

    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says N'Golo Kante's recovery from injury is progressing well and hopes the midfielder will be back with the squad soon.

    The France international left the club's tour of Japan to undergo rehabilitation on an issue stemming from the knee injury he suffered late last season.

    Kante missed multiple matches for club and country throughout May and June – though he started the Europa League final – and missed the Blues' 2-1 friendly win over Barcelona on Tuesday.

    Chelsea open their Premier League campaign against Manchester United on August 11 and Lampard is hopeful the World Cup winner will be available for the fixture.

    "He is okay," Lampard told a media conference. "It was a decision that I made because I felt that him being here, with the facilities and the travel that we have been doing, it probably wasn't the most beneficial for him.

    "He went back, has had a few days at Cobham, [he's] working well and progressing, so hopefully by the time that we get back at the end of the week I will sit down with the doctor to hopefully know that he will be back with us very soon."

    Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley were on target against Barca in Saitama, but Lampard was quick to rein in expectations after beating the LaLiga champions.

    "I won't get carried away with anything about this performance," he added. "Tammy's a goalscorer and he's hungry for goals. Now it's his time to prove it for Chelsea. To get his goal will put him in good stead."

    Lampard says he has been impressed with his side's worth ethic during their pre-season campaign so far and expects them to maintain that intensity in their final warm-up games against Reading, Salzburg and Borussia Monchengladbach.

    "In terms of the workload, the players have to get used to it now," he said. "I've set the standard of how I want them to work.

    "We've had two difficult games in humidity. The tour has served its purpose. We need to be fit and ready for Manchester United and the clock runs down pretty quickly at this stage. Now, we just have to keep working."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.