Lampard used the hate to fuel his fire as he matured into one of the world’s finest midfielders, breaking goal records for his club and collecting 106 caps for his country.
Frank Lampard will return to former club West Ham as a coach for the first time on Wednesday
Lampard is used to abuse from Hammers fans from his Chelsea playing days (above)
As he returns for the first time as a manager, he is still proving people wrong – well set for Champions League qualification in his first season as a Premier League manager and into the FA Cup semi-finals.
It hasn’t been entirely serene but Lampard has tackled problems and responded to setbacks with the same steely determination which underpinned his playing career.
Only a fortnight before lockdown, Chelsea appeared to be losing their way. They were fourth, nine points from Leicester in third, with the pack closing in.
They salvaged a point with a late equaliser at Bournemouth after a drubbing by Bayern Munich at Stamford Bridge and a home defeat against Manchester United.
They were impressive against Tottenham, but those displays were increasingly scarce.
Before lockdown, Lampard’s Chelsea appeared to be losing their way with inconsistent results
Chelsea escaped the doldrums by beating Liverpool in the FA Cup when Lampard thrust Billy Gilmour into midfield and the teenager ran the show, just as he did in a 4-0 win against Everton five days later.
Liverpool were understrength and Everton were downright awful that day, but Lampard has not dodged difficult decisions. One was to sell David Luiz without buying a replacement.
Another was to drop Kepa Arrizabalaga, the world’s most expensive goalkeeper at £72million. He left out Christian Pulisic, signed for £58m, and preferred Mason Mount.
Moreover, insiders at Chelsea note a key difference to his predecessors. When things went wrong for Antonio Conte or Maurizio Sarri, the Italians would turn inwards, lines of communication broke down and trust would erode.
The Blues have looked much better post-lockdown and Lampard is very much responsible
Choices such as dropping goalkeeper Kepa, now back in the side, worked in Lampard’s favour
Lampard, perhaps because he and his coaches understand the machinations of this peculiar club, has avoided the usual…