Frank Lampard started at Aston Villa
Frank Lampard has spoken of his delight at the improvement in the atmosphere at Chelsea since the appointment of Roberto Di Matteo as interim manager at Stamford Bridge.
Di Matteo, 41, replaced Andre Villas-Boas at the helm of the west London club after a bad run of results saw the early departure of the Portuguese boss. It was known that during Villas-Boas' reign Lampard was among those players who felt alienated by the former Porto boss.
Most notably Lampard was left out of Chelsea's starting XI at Napoli, a decision that was repeated by Di Matteo for the recent Champions League quarter-final first leg at Benfica. But Lampard insists the way the situation was handled by Di Matteo was preferable.
Asked if Di Matteo had taken a different approach to Villas-Boas, Lampard told BBC Radio Five Live: "Yes, that is fair to say.
"I spoke with Robbie and certainly had no issue with it. I was delighted to get the result we got (a 1-0 win). I came on in the last 20 minutes, anyway.''
Di Matteo was reportedly not liked any more than Villas-Boas by the Chelsea squad while he was working as the Portuguese's assistant. But players have been queuing up to hail the former Blues midfielder for the way he has transformed their season and the fairness he has shown to each individual.
Lampard said: "The number one makes the decisions and he is revelling in making those decisions. He has kept it very simple. It's a case of getting a confidence and passion through the team and, in the results we've had, you'd say he has done that.''
Villas-Boas had seemed determined to undertake a mass cull of older players at Stamford Bridge and, asked if he had tried to change too much too soon, Lampard said: "It's hard to pinpoint things. I don't want to go too much over negatives.
"We didn't perform to a level, that's why the manager changed and us, as players, are not happy because you don't feel as proud as you should be when you know the squad we've got should be doing better.
"So the reasons are not quite clear but there's a lot to be said for having a confident squad. You have to have that to get the best out of all your players and I feel we are in a better position now than we were in the past.''
Di Matteo could decide to rest Lampard again for Wednesday's Champions League return match with Benfica, while Chelsea will continue to monitor the injured David Luiz (ankle) and Didier Drogba (foot).
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Without doubt your second reason is the correct one Faye. They were stupid to sack Wikins and Ancelotti, stupid to appoint AVB especially at that cost and correct to sack him.
Stuart, you are merely jumping on the band wagon of saying the senior players run the team. Lampard and Drogba have not played that much more with RDM than they did with Boas, so why has the atmosphere and results improved? And why get rid of Terry, a very influential captain and still the best English CH in the PL?
Boas stripped the team of confidence with his approach, that's why they didn't play well for him. Not because they didn't want to but because they were unsure of what they were supposed to be doing.
AVB was never the right man for the job. Yes, he had had sucess in Portugal, but the Portugese league is nothing compared to EPL. FL is being honest, so why condem him? He is still the greatest goal scoring midfielder inthe country, despite not having played nearly as many games as in previous seasons. JT is a great captain, and understands the other players. DD is still a great player, although you would think he played from a wheelchair they way people talk about him. Let RDM finish the season, and then compare the two, if thats what people want. True fans will believe in the team no matter what happens, but they also want the best players to be available. If that means continuing with the older, more experienced players for another year or two, so be it.
Spot on Stuart, it does seem that everyone is going out of their way to prove the club was right in sacking AVB.
You can look at it two ways... 1st: The decision was wrong, but they are all falling over themselves trying to tell the world it was right 'because they say so & are proving it', hence showing how spoilt & pathetic they are, OR 2nd: The decision was correct, which would just prove what a stupid decision it was to sack CA for AVB (costing £30M) & shows that the board are obviously useless at judging a character... Either way, the club don't come out of it in a very good light.
The real 1
Lampard talks about, improvement and a change in atmosphere, since the appointment of Di Matteo, well that's what he wanted, because AVB was not picking him and his side kicks DD and JT had cause for concern. Best thing a new manager can do is out Lampard, Drogba and Terry, then your be able to run things your way, whoever that turns out to be.
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