Frank Lampard believes he could have been branded a “flip-flopper” had he hastily scrapped his youth policy due to Chelsea’s opening-day drubbing by Manchester United.
Lampard endured a miserable start as Blues boss after a team containing academy graduates Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham capitulated to a thumping 4-0 loss at Old Trafford.
Despite being exposed to criticism following that chastening defeat, the 41-year-old has persevered with a strategy of blooding young talent and been rewarded with a stunning seven-match winning run across all competitions.
In-form Chelsea host United in the Carabao Cup fourth round on Wednesday evening and Lampard says ditching his bold approach based on one bad result would have left him looking indecisive.
“There is a lot of noise, win, lose or draw; selection, whatever 11 I pick,” said Lampard, who has been unable to sign new players because of a club transfer embargo.
“With this big wide world of social media we have now it will be dissected and people will have different opinions and some people who are ex players or ex managers will have different opinions.
“I set out this season to see what these young boys could do.
“If I didn’t have a transfer ban and came to this club and had opportunities to bring players in during the summer, I still would have trusted the young boys and would have made decisions around that.
“For me to have thrown that away after one game at Manchester United and a few opinions, that would have made me a bit of a flip-flopper.”
Aside from the resounding result, Chelsea produced a promising display against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in August.
The Blues were particularly positive during an opening 45 minutes which twice saw them strike the frame of the goal.
Lampard, who does not plan to use the humbling as motivation during his pre-match team talk for the midweek cup tie at Stamford Bridge, thinks the setback may have proved beneficial for his team’s ongoing development.
“I didn’t feel too bad after the game and I don’t want that to sound naive because 4-0 is 4-0 but I was certainly encouraged by big elements of the performance and moments in the game,” he said.
“It was part of probably the early learning curve of the season for us all that we need to be more clinical with our chances, which we have been since, and we can’t have sleepy moments for seconds against top players.
“Hopefully we have got better at that as well so there were also lessons in the game.”
Like Lampard, who is Chelsea’s record scorer with 211 goals, United boss Solskjaer also enjoyed a prolific playing career for the team he currently manages.
Those strong connections based on previous achievements have prompted suggestions the pair can expect greater patience from the boards of their respective clubs.
However, Lampard disagrees with that assumption and feels the situation may bring greater scrutiny.
“I think I might be silly to start saying that,” said the former midfielder.
“I might be all right this week but the reality for us all is the same.
“In fact, it might flip. It might be the other way, people might look even more into you.
“The minute you don’t get a result, it will be, ‘you only got the job because you played for them’ or something like that. There are flip sides to that.
“My job is not to even have my head turned by any of those comments either way and to focus on what’s in hand.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
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