Frank Lampard vowed to make every player in Chelsea’s oversized squad “feel included” as he spoke for the first time after being appointed as the club’s interim manager.

The Stamford Bridge legend has agreed to return to the role he held between 2019 and 2021 – this time on an interim basis, following the sacking of Graham Potter.

Lampard has a maximum of 13 matches in charge until the end of the season while the club conducts a thorough search for Potter’s long-term successor, with Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann on their shortlist.

Top of Lampard’s priority list will be managing a bloated squad in which new signings like Mykhailo Mudryk, Noni Madueke and David Datro Fofana have enjoyed little game time. Chelsea have spent £550m on 17 new signings since the summer and Potter struggled to manage his squad.

“I know there’s a lot of talent in this squad. I’m excited to work with that talent and help them,” said Lampard, speaking at his first press conference since his return was confirmed.

“Modern day football has big squads, I understand Chelsea are at the top end of that. Part of the job is to manage that situation and make every player feel included. There’s been change, transition in the squad. Those things take a bit of time, everyone will try and work in the right direction.

It is expected that Lampard will lean heavily on his trusted lieutenants from his first stint at Chelsea, with Mason Mount – whose long-term future at the club hangs in the balance amid a contract standoff – expected to feature more often.

“Mason has always been a fantastic player for me,” added Lampard. It’s an absolute pleasure to watch him, and other players like Reece James, Tammy Abraham and [Fikayo] Tomori to go on and be huge players here or elsewhere.

“I know what I get from Mason. I just want to see him perform on the pitch. We have a good relationship, I look forward to speaking to him more.”

Lampard, who was sacked by Everton in January, admitted it was an “easy decision” to accept the offer to return to West London. He also addressed the upcoming Champions League quarter-final with Real Madrid – his main challenge as manager, with the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 12.

“It’s certainly a chance with the two games we have coming up,” he said.

“I’m not naive, Real Madrid is a huge football club, the current Champions League winners and a fantastic team.

So I’m not going to sit here and make crazy talk about that, my job is to go step by step.

“My job is to be as good a manager as I can be. Unfinished business? I don’t quite see it like that. Unfinished business sounds a bit Hollywood. I want to work.”

By admin