Frank Lampard is relishing a reunion with Carlo Ancelotti when Chelsea head to Everton in the Premier League on Saturday.
Blues legend Lampard played in 60 of Ancelotti’s 76 top-flight matches at the Stamford Bridge helm, when the Italian averaged 2.07 points per game, aided by the midfielder’s 32 goals.
Everton boss Ancelotti led Chelsea to league glory in 2009-10 but will be looking to put a dent in their hopes of repeating the feat this term when the sides meet at Goodison Park, where his tenure in charge of the Blues ended in 2011.
Lampard’s men sit third, just two points off the summit and five clear of an Everton team who have suffered a loss of form, with the Chelsea head coach nonetheless still full of praise for his old mentor.
“I was heavily influenced by him as a player and a man,” said Lampard, who hopes to have Christian Pulisic available after a slight hamstring problem.
“He is right at the top when I speak about the managers I’ve worked with for everything about him, the huge success he has had at a number of clubs.
“One to one I found him to be a great coach, a great man and I look forward at all times to seeing him and speaking to him.”
Frank Lampard Carlo Ancelotti!
You can re-watch our meeting with Everton in March on the Chelsea app now!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 30, 2020
Everton made a fine start to the season but have won just one of their previous seven matches, sliding into mid-table as a result.
However, the Toffees have triumphed in their last two Premier League home games against Chelsea – including a 3-1 win under Duncan Ferguson’s tutelage in the corresponding fixture last season – and, in 11-goal striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, boast the division’s top scorer.
Lampard, whose team cruised to a 4-0 win over the Toffees at Stamford Bridge in March in their final game before a three-month, coronavirus-enforced break, has some sympathy for how Everton’s fortunes have changed.
“That’s the nature of the Premier League, they started very well and have quality players, and have a fantastic manager who is one of the best in the world,” he said.
“The Premier League is unforgiving. We all have patches where results are challenging but it doesn’t change my thoughts about how I approach Everton.
“They are a very good side, with quality individuals, who can win games. I’m focusing on their strengths and dangers when we go there.”
As for his own side’s hopes of competing for the ultimate prize, Lampard added: “We’re happy where we are but there’s a long way to go. Words aren’t important at this point.”
Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight Premier League meetings with Everton, losing both games in which they conceded.
The man the hosts, who have leaked top-flight goals this term, will need to watch out for is Olivier Giroud, who has scored in each of his last six Premier League starts for Chelsea – only Mark Stein (seven between December 1993 and February 1994) has scored in more consecutive starts for the Blues in the competition.