Frank Lampard's got the Jose Mourinho swagger — the trophies will surely follow


Maybe it is a natural game for the mind to play but, in the immediate aftermath of Derby’s magnificent win at Elland Road on Wednesday, Frank Lampard was reminiscent of a certain Jose Mourinho .

In fact, just before the final whistle, when he dismissively tossed back a Leeds scarf that had been thrown towards him, he cut a Mourinho figure.

It carried on in the celebrations — giving it a little to the home supporters, pushing past security to get to his own fans, catching Richard Keogh in his arms as Jose would once catch John Terry. Hugging the younger players in the way Mourinho once hugged him. Like a father.

Lampard looked every inch the inspirational leader Mourinho has been, even down to the smart attire.

There was a distinct whiff of Mourinho about Lampard’s celebrations at Elland Road

Reaching the Championship play-offs with Derby – and edging a thrilling two-legged tie with Leeds – is not some sort of blockbusting managerial achievement. It is not on the scale of Daniel Farke making Norwich champions of the second tier or Chris Wilder, the League Managers’ Association Manager of the Year, getting automatic promotion from it with Sheffield United.

When accounts for the 2018/19 season are filed, Derby are unlikely to be in a much different position than they were last season – sixth in the wages table. With their salary commitment, play-off contention is expected.

That they have remained within the constraints of Financial Fair Play appears to be down mainly to one of owner Mel Morris’s companies buying the ground and leasing it back – a deal that made the club a profit of around £40million. Creative accountancy seems to be as crucial a part of Championship life as coaching acumen.

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But Lampard has shone in his first season as a manager.

This is a man who belongs in the role.

Jose Mourinho celebrates his Porto side scoring at Old Trafford
‘Jose Who?’ made his name with THAT sprint down the Old Trafford touchline in 2004

This is a man who could have taken the soft, lucrative option. At one point, senior figures within Sky Sports were imagining him not so much as a top pundit but as their equivalent of Gary Lineker.

Lampard, instead, knows he still belongs in the game, that he has a massive amount to offer as a manager. And it is hard not to think that Mourinho’s influence has a lot to do with that.

In January, 2014, at a dinner in honour of Jose, Lampard spoke about Mourinho’s qualities. About his ability to make players, particularly young players, feel at ease, how he transmitted confidence, how he talked in the right tone at the right time, how he had that patriarchal touch but high expectations.

Those behind the scenes at Derby say Lampard has similar traits.

No surprise.

Mourinho seemed like a dad to his first Chelsea side, and Lampard is said to be similar

It has not been a seamless introduction. Maybe he was a touch over-sensitive over Spygate — although his bristling annoyance was also a touch Mourinho-esque.

Lampard struggled to contain his emotions on Wednesday night and it was ‘only’ a play-off semi-final. But after Manchester United had confirmed their passage to the Europa League Final in 2017 Mourinho was also fighting to stay in control… and they had just scraped past Celta Vigo.

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Of course, a decent debut season, which could get better if Derby beat Aston Villa at Wembley a week on Monday, does not make Lampard the next Mourinho.

But it will only be a matter of time.

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