Frank Lampard has said that the return of manager-in-waiting Jose Mourinho would transform Chelsea again, on the day that the midfielder signed a one-year extension that will keep him at Stamford Bridge for another season.
Lampard, 35 next month, is understood to have been made an offer by Chelsea as early as January. That came after a change of heart from the club's owner Roman Abramovich who had originally told the player in December, via technical director Michael Emenalo, that at that point there was no offer on the table.
The Independent reported on 1 May that there was a willingness on the club's side to do a deal and the contract that was finally signed this month was not on the original terms outlined in December. With 20 goals this season, Lampard has surpassed the club's all-time record goalscorer Bobby Tambling with 203.
Lampard said: "If Jose comes back it will be a huge lift for the club. It's no secret that he's an idol for the fans for what he's done. He's the greatest manager in our history and he changed the whole belief of the club and made us into a winning club.
"It will lift the fans, and I know it will lift the players. Those who haven't worked with him before will understand that he'll come in and give them an extra edge. Hopefully that will take us back to being that consistent force."
Lampard, who was part of the side that beat Benfica 2-1 in the Europa League final on Wednesday night, said that he did not make his decision on the basis that Mourinho was coming back – although that now looks inevitable. Asked whether he had been told the identity of the new manager in negotiations, he said: "Completely not. That would not be the right way to go about it. I signed for the club. I have had 10 different managers here so I know the ropes."