Frank Lampard Backs Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea: 'I Have Got Respect for Him'

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31: Frank Lampard of Derby County shakes hands with Maurizio Sarri, Manager of Chelsea after the Carabao Cup Fourth Round match between Chelsea and Derby County at Stamford Bridge on October 31, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Frank Lampard has backed the work Maurizio Sarri is doing at Chelsea and believes the Italian manager does not benefit from the regular use of the term "Sarriball" to describe his style.

Sarri has endured a mixed debut season at Stamford Bridge. He oversaw a 12-game unbeaten run in the Premier League from the start of the campaign, which saw Chelsea emerge as early title contenders.

However, they have since lost seven times and sit sixth in the English top flight, three points off the top four.

Back in February, the former Napoli manager looked to be on the brink of being sacked after heavy defeats to Bournemouth and Manchester City were followed by an FA Cup loss at home to Manchester United, after which his predictability was heavily criticised.

James Olley @JamesOlley

FT 0-2 #mufc Out of the FA Cup in a poisonous atmosphere, Sarri’s job has never been more under threat than it is now. Malmo next but some at #cfc will be wincing about Sunday’s Carabao Cup Final against #mcfc already.

James Olley @JamesOlley

Sarri replaces Kovacic with Barkley and some #cfc fans respond with a chant of: “You don’t know what you’re doing.” Now a louder chant of: “F*** Sarriball.”

James Pearce @JamesPearceEcho

Difficult to see any way back for Sarri after that. Chelsea are a mess

Former Chelsea midfielder Lampard, who is currently in charge of Championship side Derby County, was touted as a potential successor for Sarri.

The 60-year-old has since become more secure after some decent results, and Blues legend Lampard believes he has been unfairly treated at times, per Nizaar Kinsella of Goal:

"I respect managers who have a belief in a philosophy or system. I have never worked with Sarri, but I did see his Napoli team play fantastic football. I think it has been unfortunate for Sarri himself, everyone has come up with this 'Sarriball' term, but I am not sure I have ever heard him actually milk that one or make it his own.

"I think he is just trying to win football games and he has brought in players who want to play the way he wants to play. Everyone has become a little bit focused on that fact. I think he is a very good manager.

"He is not just looking at how Chelsea are playing, he is looking at his opponents, and he is trying to get good results for Chelsea Football Club. I have got respect for him. I don't know him that well but I have got respect for him."

Chelsea are back in action following the international break on Sunday against Cardiff City in the Premier League.

It is a match they need to win in order to maintain pace in the fierce race for the top four:

Premier League @premierleague

Just a reminder... #PL https://t.co/0IXHUQPqpZ

Given Chelsea finished fifth last term, if Sarri is able to guide Chelsea back into the top four in 2018-19 and return them to the UEFA Champions League, it would surely be regarded as a successful season.

The Blues are also still in the UEFA Europa League, a tournament they have a good chance of winning.

The west London side were drawn against Slavia Prague for the quarter-finals and travel to the Czech Republic for the first leg on April 11.