Frank Lampard has said his year at Manchester City introduced him to a different style of football and played a part in shaping his managerial approach.
Lampard was nearing retirement when he left Chelsea in 2014 and he feels spending a season in Manchester before finishing his playing career at New York City FC gave him an idea of how he wanted to coach. He caused a stir when he joined City, who were managed by Manuel Pellegrini at the time, but he believes seeing how another English club operated was a positive after 13 years at Stamford Bridge.
“I wondered at 36 whether a year there was something I should take on because of what I feel about this club,” Chelsea’s manager said. “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, all came together and made me take a decision which was quite tough at the time.
“I wanted to finish my career here at Chelsea. It didn’t work that way, but the year in Manchester, in terms of what I’m doing here now, was perfect because it opened my eyes to another club, another structure, another dressing room, another coaching philosophy, another idea. At New York that continued and that starts to shape what you’re thinking next.”
Lampard was already thinking about coaching before joining City. “It wasn’t a priority because I didn’t want to take my eye off the ball,” he said. “But I was trying to look around me more and see things from a different side, which was less as a player and more about how I’d work with people around me.”
Chelsea are a point above City before visiting the champions on Saturday evening but Lampard knows how hard it is to take on a Pep Guardiola side. He played against Barcelona and Bayern Munich when they were managed by Guardiola.
“I won’t say it was a pleasure, but it is a pleasure to look back and see the quality,” he said. “The feeling at the Nou Camp, and when we played Bayern a bit, was that they would squeeze the life out of you on the ball so you had no time. You would spend the whole time defending and they move the ball so quickly and so well. When you talk about experiences and how you want to be when you become a manager, playing against his team was certainly an experience that you want to take forward.”
Lampard was in good humour when he was asked about José Mourinho’s appointment at Tottenham, joking that his old manager will not be on Sky Sports for a while. He added that he could never imagine managing Spurs.