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Football Reporting


Pressure is more ‘exciting’ to manage

Frank Lampard has said he finds managing Chelsea more “exciting” when the team is underperforming despite mounting speculation over his future.

The 42-year-old is under pressure after a run of four defeats from six Premier League games ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup third-round visit of League Two promotion hopefuls Morecambe (Stream live on ESPN+ at 8:30 a.m. ET in the U.S.).

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Sources told ESPN on Monday that the club hierarchy are minded to give Lampard more time amid reports a shortlist of replacements has been drawn up, but he must turn things around quickly after being given six new players at a cost of more than £220 million last summer to reshape the squad.

Lampard led Chelsea on a run of 17 games in all competitions without defeat earlier this season but said he is enjoying the pressure due to their recent slump.

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“In terms of myself, I have to say I came into this job expecting pressure and I have to say my own personality means that I’m weirdly quite strange,” he told a news conference. “You probably have to be to do this job at times, but when things are going well, I put more pressure on myself.

“I don’t like things going well because I worry what’s around the corner, I worry about complacency. With the unbeaten run, I was constantly under pressure myself with people telling me how great we were.

“Now, I find this more challenging in a good way in terms of my job because I can find out more about myself, I can find out more about every member of the team, every member of the staff and it actually makes my job more exciting.

“Now, of course I understand the pressure heightens because I understand the expectations of a club like this but I love doing what I’m doing. I never expected an easy run in this job. I’ve come to a huge club in Premier League and world football in the process of a rebuild. That was never going to be an easy run. So I have to expect these situations.”

Lampard is expected to rotate heavily this weekend with five academy players — Tino Livramento, Tino Anjorin, Henry Lawrence, Jude Soonsup-Bell, Lewis Bate — joining the senior squad in training, while N’Golo Kante, Reece James and Andreas Christensen are injured.

Several summer signings including Kai Havertz and Timo Werner have underperformed this term and USMNT star Christian Pulisic’s progress has been hampered by persistent hamstring problems but Lampard added: “I don’t think there was a season that I played at this club, for all the success we had over the years, where we didn’t have difficult moments and meetings, a defeat or a double defeat or whatever, a bad month, a bad period.

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“It is part and parcel of being a player. So I’m the first one that has to be positive and get excited about… losing games is the biggest chance to improve in football.

“So it is the biggest chance to get better and when you are a squad that’s growing, young and new with players that are coming in, those are the moments to test them and make them better players.

“I can’t sit here and say ‘I have absolute belief that Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic are going to be a top level players as they reach and arrive at the prime of their careers.’

“If I say it is going to be an easy run for them, it is impossible in football. So I have to be the one that states that to them, keeps their chin up, keeps them working, understand a reaction is needed in tough moments.

“The rest is down to them because the players will always be the ones that get you out of those moments. They have to go and perform.”

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