Frank Lampard revealed that Jose Mourinho complimented him on Derby County’s display as the Championship side eliminated Manchester United from the EFL Cup on penalties at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
Lampard came up against his former manager at Chelsea for the first time in his managerial career and earned a famous victory over his old mentor, with Derby securing an 8-7 penalty shoot-out win following a 2-2 draw.
Derby came close to winning the tie in 90 minutes after goals from Harry Wilson and Jack Marriott overcame Juan Mata’s early breakthrough, but a late Marouane Fellaini header reprieved 10-man United.
Lee Grant, in United’s goal following Sergio Romero’s sending off, could not prevent Derby from scoring all eight of their penalties and Phil Jones missed the crucial kick, sending a tame effort into Scott Carson’s arms.
“It was special. A special performance,” Lampard said, hailing a famous night for the club and revealed that Mourinho praised Derby’s performance to him before the shoot-out started.
“To come to Manchester United and to not just knick a win but to play the way we played, with all the things we’ve been working towards in a short space of time, to do it on this stage against this team full of top players, with that squad which has some younger boys in it as well, the players were immense. What a night for the club, coming here to do that.”
When asked whether Mourinho had spoken to him, Lampard said: “Only briefly, in my ear, and he said what a great performance it was from the team. I appreciate that.
“It’s not easy in defeat. I think he actually said that before the penalties, but I appreciate it. He was very welcoming and we obviously know each other.
“We spoke before, during and afterwards and it was an honour to go up against him.”
Before the tie, Lampard had spoke about how he wanted his players to embrace the experience of playing at Old Trafford and he was delighted with their courageous, counter-attacking display.
“That was my happiest thing of the night. I wouldn’t have minded if we’d lost on penalties. We played without fear,” the former England international said.
“We didn’t come here and sit back, put men behind the ball and see what happened. We went 1-0 down after three minutes, which is even harder then.
“Maybe then if you’re a bit weak in the mind you can go: ‘OK, here we go.’ We didn’t. We got the ball, we kept trying to play.
“We won the ball high up the pitch, we brought the line up the pitch... We had confidence and the balls to play like that.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies