Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has welcomed Frank Lampard’s return to Premier League management and says the Chelsea caretaker boss has a ‘new opportunity’ at Stamford Bridge.
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Chelsea confirmed on Thursday that Lampard would take charge of the team until the end of the season, with the Blues deciding to wait until the summer to appoint Graham Potter’s permanent replacement.
Potter only arrived at Chelsea in September but lost his job following a dismal run in which the Blues dropped into the bottom-half of the Premier League.
Somewhat surprisingly, Chelsea have turned to former manager Lampard in an attempt to steady the ship and finish the season on a high.
Lampard is a legend at Stamford Bridge following his exploits as a player but endured an underwhelming spell as manager from July 2019 until his sacking in January 2021.
The former England midfielder became Everton’s boss following his departure from Chelsea but lost his job at Goodison Park in January as the Toffees battled relegation.
Guardiola, one of the greatest club managers in history, has welcomed Lampard’s return and has urged the ex-Everton manager to grasp this unexpected opportunity with both hands.
‘We were in touch when he was at Everton,’ the Manchester City boss said at his pre-match press conference.
‘It is good to see him back, it’s a new opportunity at the club he loves and a new challenge for him.’
Potter was the 13th manager to be sacked in the Premier League this season – three more than in any other previous campaign.
On the ruthless nature of the English top-flight, Guardiola said: ‘I think that sporting directors and owners make the decision on managers and when to sack them and how it works.
‘In this country when I was younger it always had the tradition to keep the managers. What happens today with a lot of pressure for everyone, a lot of investment, in a way I understand there’s a lot of pressure.
‘Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It is what it is, you have to adapt.’
Asked why he has never been sacked, Guardiola added: ‘I will tell you the secret: we win games. If we don’t win games I would be sacked.
‘It’s not because my hair is better than the other ones. I’m not sacked because we win a lot of games.’
Manchester City, who found themselves eight points behind Arsenal as they bid to defend their Premier League crown, travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton on Saturday evening.
‘It would be difficult to analyse Southampton if their manager was appointed yesterday, but they’ve played a few games now,’ Guardiola said.
‘The pattern is clear, but every team is playing for something; there is an important fight for the Premier League and to be in the Premier League.
‘Every game has its own characteristic. We have to be ready.’
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