Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has come to the defense of his former mentor José Mourinho before topping the table with Tottenham on Sunday.
Mourinho has faced increasing scrutiny over his tactics and his man-management style, but his Spurs team has responded to criticism in recent weeks.
In his first spell at Chelsea, Mourinho helped turn Lampard into a world-class player, allowing him to become the club’s all-time top scorer with 211 goals.
Lampard believes Mourinho remains a top manager even after a difficult end to his second spell with Chelsea and problems during his spell at Manchester United.
“Of course it is [still a top manager]Lampard said at his pre-match press conference. “You don’t have a record as decorated as José Mourinho has a coach without being a very talented coach.
“For all of us, the game is so reactionary right now and particularly in the modern era, reactions on social media will always be judged very harshly by any coach. Tottenham are in good shape. They are on a roll; they have good players, they have a good coach.
“It will be a very difficult game for us. I played in the game many times, and the fact that we are in good shape towards the top of the table adds flavor, we are in positions where we want to be and we are all fighting for that.
“So it’s a game that remains special for those reasons, and the league standings will, of course, attract all eyes.”
The positive words come after a touchline between Lampard and Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Carabao Cup this season.
Last season, Mourinho used his signature Lampard mind games and claimed he knew the lineup his former player would use. After losing the match, he went on to say that Lampard claimed success using ‘the Conte formation’.
Having seen him use similar tactics with other coaches like his player, Lampard says that doesn’t hurt his relationship with Mourinho.
“Nothing in the management surprises me,” he added. “We all have similar jobs to do. We all sit at these press conferences and have our own personalities. I have respect for José as a coach. This is how it is.
“I was not offended by the fact that I used the ‘Antonio Conte system’ or whatever. I play that system clearly very differently than Conte would have. José can have his opinions but I respect him and he is not controversial for me ”.