Frank Lampard says Jose Mourinho was wrong to say that his Chelsea legacy was tarnished by joining Manchester City in 2014, but he holds no grudge with his former boss.
Mourinho stole the headlines this week when he took over Tottenham – the fiercest rivals of Chelsea, where he goes down as the club’s most successful manager.
While with the Stamford Bridge side, the Portuguese claimed he would never join Tottenham, comments that have resurfaced this week following his decision to do just that. And Mourinho’s history has come under further scrutiny after he suggested that Lampard’s Chelsea “love stories” were over when he netted against the club while playing with City five years ago.
Although he believes Mourinho was in the wrong to make such a statement, Lampard holds no animosity towards the ex-Real Madrid and Manchester United manager.
“At the time I didn’t feel it was quite right, I have to say that. It was directly after the match and sometimes the emotions of the match can affect the comment or type of comment,” Lampard told reporters at Cobham Training Centre.
“The bigger picture on that one for me is the love story or not is probably always decided by the fans and the club. It has proven now I am here managing the club but even then I think a lot of people understood how I felt about Chelsea, always did, always will do, regardless of the year at Manchester City. I have got no problem with that.
“I think it was more a comment made in the emotions after the match. I think the reaction of me going to Manchester City, which was something I was concerned about after 13 years here.
“I wondered at 36 whether a year there was something I should take on because of what I feel about this club. And then my professional head, the challenge of it and the period I had where I wasn’t going to be playing before going to New York FC, all came together and made me take a decision which was quite tough at the time.
“But to see then the feeling I got from the Chelsea fans on that day was an emotional thing for me and it hasn’t stopped from that day.”
Chelsea have lost to both Liverpool and Manchester United twice this season as they face their third ‘big six’ rival, City, under the tenure of Lampard.
Mourinho said he was “worried” about Chelsea against the likes of City ahead of the international break, which prompted a dismissive response from Lampard’s assistant Jody Morris on Twitter.
Lampard, meanwhile, said he pays no attention to the analysis of TV pundits. “When you work on the TV, in the media as a pundit, you have opinions to make about the way you see the game,” he said. “Sometimes there are reasons for what you say. Sometimes it’s just your opinion on the game and I thought it was just someone else’s opinion. Sometimes you get too swayed by opinions of others, whoever they are, even though I respect Jose completely.
“My worry is Chelsea, not really anybody else’s worry. It’s not his worry, particularly not now. But I’ve got no problem.
“And, as I say, if you were to look at the bigger games we’ve played, it could be quite loose to look at it and say: ‘Oh we haven’t won those games.’
“If you look at the performances against Liverpool, anyone who watched closely will see that we were possibly the better side in Istanbul and unlucky not to get at least a draw at home. And that’s Liverpool who are, as it stands, the best team in the country in terms of points, so I won’t look at it that closely.
“I look at where we are in the table. I look at where we can improve and I’ve got faith in the team as we go forward.”
Lampard went on to say that didn’t think his assistant Morris needed punishment after his ‘laughing emoji’ response to Mourinho on social media.
“First of all, I don’t really do too much social media. I have one eye on it at times I think it is important to have your eye on it these days. I thought it was light-hearted,” he said.
“We’re all Chelsea boys and we care deeply about the team. Sometimes you listen to a lot of stuff and sometimes you have to take a lot of stuff on the chin.
“I think it was very small fry and not a problem for me. Yes, you have to be careful with social media but I know the work and care put in and where we want to get to, so I’m not concerned by small, one, two, three worded tweets.”