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Frank Lampard has stated it was a “pretty easy decision” to return to Chelsea after he was named caretaker manager until the end of the season on Thursday.
He will lead Chelsea while the search continues for a permanent successor to Graham Potter, who was sacked as head coach on Sunday after less than seven months in charge with the club 11th in the Premier League.
Lampard, 44, took training on Thursday at the club’s Cobham base ahead of this weekend’s trip Wolverhampton Wanderers.
He remains the club’s all-time leading goal scorer with 211 goals from 649 appearances and managed Chelsea between June 2019 to January 2021, leading them to a top-four finish and the 2020 FA Cup Final which they lost to Arsenal.
Speaking at his unveiling on Thursday, Lampard, who has been out of work since leaving Everton in January, said: “It was a pretty easy decision for me. This is my club, in terms of my playing career and having managed and coached here before. I have a lot of emotions and feelings towards the club.
“I’m also a very practical person. Obviously I’ve been on a different path since leaving Chelsea but to come back at a time when the club have asked me to come and take the role, that’s the most important thing, but also with a belief that I can help the cause in this period to the end of the season.
“I’m delighted to get the opportunity and I want to be thankful for that to the people who decided to give me that opportunity. I am confident in myself, I have a good understanding of the squad, of course I have worked with a lot of them before but also the stadium, the training ground, the fans, what Chelsea fans want and I’ll do my utmost in this period coming up to give them what they want with my own hard work.”
Co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali said in a statement: “We are delighted to welcome Frank back to Stamford Bridge. Frank is a Premier League Hall of Famer and a legend at this club.
“As we continue our thorough and exhaustive process for a permanent head coach, we want to provide the club and our fans with a clear and stable plan for the remainder of the season. We want to give ourselves every chance of success and Frank has all of the characteristics and qualities we need to drive us to the finish line.
“We have an important game against Wolves on Saturday and then we will turn our attention to our Champions League quarter-final in Madrid next week. We are all going to give Frank our full backing as we aim to get the best possible outcome from all our remaining games.”
Lampard, who replaces Bruno Saltor following his one match in charge as interim boss — Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool — insisted he was not thinking about the role on a full-time basis.
Sources told ESPN that the club is considering between five to seven candidates for the role.
“I think the explanation of the role speaks for itself. I am not getting anywhere ahead of myself. I want to impact the club in the best way during this period, and after that, we’ll see what happens,” Lampard said.
The club have contacted Julian Nagelsmann, sacked last month by Bayern Munich, and Luis Enrique, who flew to London on Wednesday for what sources describe as positive talks over the job.
Former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, 51, was also thought to be under consideration, but as of Tuesday no contact had been made with him.
The recruitment process is being led by co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, who informed Potter in face-to-face talks at the club’s Cobham training base that his contract would be terminated with unanimous backing of the board.
Sources have told ESPN that Nagelsmann would ideally like to wait until the summer to make a decision on his next role.