Frank Lampard praises Chelsea caretaker Roberto Di Matteo for confidence boost
Tuesday 03 April 2012
Frank Lampard has suggested that Roberto Di Matteo has coped much better than Andre Villas-Boas when it comes to telling him he has been left out of the Chelsea team. Lampard admitted shortly before Villas-Boas's departure last month to having been at odds with the 34-year-old, who habitually omitted him from big games.
Matters reportedly came to a head when Lampard was told he would not start a Champions League match at Napoli in February. Di Matteo, who has started Lampard in almost every game since taking charge, delivered similar news before last week's quarter-final first-leg win against Benfica.
Asked if Di Matteo had taken a different approach to Villas-Boas, Lampard said: "Yes, that is fair to say. I spoke with Robbie and certainly had no issue with it. I was delighted to get the result we got. I came on in the last 20 minutes anyway."
Di Matteo was reportedly not liked any more than Villas-Boas by the Chelsea squad while the Italian was the Portuguese's assistant but players have poured praise on the former Blues midfielder for the way he has transformed their season. Lampard said: "He has kept it very simple. It's a case of getting a confidence and passion through the team and, in the results we've had, you'd say he has done that."
Villas-Boas seemed determined to undertake a mass cull of older players and when asked if he had tried to change too much too soon, Lampard said: "It's hard to pinpoint things. I don't want to go too much over negatives. We didn't perform to a level, that's why the manager changed and us, as players, are not happy because you don't feel as proud as you should be when you know the squad we've got should be doing better."
Lampard believes Chelsea have enough quality to deny third-placed Arsenal or fourth-placed Tottenham a Champions League spot, either by overhauling them in the league or by ending their own wait for European glory.
The 33-year-old said: "We certainly don't feel like all our eggs are in the European basket. We have to be aware that Benfica at home is still to get through, then we will potentially face Barcelona or Milan in the semi-final and then we have the final. To win them all to try to confirm our Champions League status for next year, it is a risky card, albeit one well within our means."
Di Matteo could rest Lampard again for tomorrow's Champions League return with Benfica, while Chelsea will continue to monitor the injured David Luiz (ankle) and Didier Drogba (foot).
Latest in Sport
Kevin Garside: Manchester United may have history and tradition but, as David Moyes never realised, a big-time manager always bends such things to his will
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal transfer news: Versatile Calum Chambers is a 'gamble', admits Arsene Wenger as Arsenal spending passes £50m
Tour de France 2014: Vincenzo Nibali confirmed as champion as he puts Italy back on the map with triumph
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
- 5 The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc