Gianfranco Zola has insisted that Chelsea cannot afford to underestimate Derby County in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie.
The Rams, managed by Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, knocked out Manchester United in the previous round and Blues assistant boss Zola says they ought to be treated with respect.
Zola said: “We’re going to study them and how they play. We know their strengths and we’re going to be working on that.
“We certainly respect their value because we know it’s a very good team.
“They have good players. We will have to play the game with a lot of respect for them, otherwise there will be trouble.”
Lampard, Chelsea’s record goalscorer, is sure to receive a hero’s reception from the home fans on his return to Stamford Bridge.
There will also be a return for former Chelsea player and youth coach Jody Morris, who left the club to become Lampard’s assistant when the former England midfielder took over as Derby boss during the summer.
“I’m sure it will be a big night for him (Lampard) – very similar to me when I first came back with West Ham. I’m sure he’s very much looking forward to the game,” Zola said.
“We are looking forward to it as well. We’re very pleased to welcome him. He’s a legend of the club, done so much for the club, and we really wish him the best to do well as a coach.
“On a personal note, I can only say it’s been a pleasure for me to have him as a companion many years ago. We spent some time together, not only on the pitch but also on the training ground.
“It is no surprise to me he is doing well. He is going to do well in the new role in football because he’s always had a great attitude towards the game and what has to be done to become good in this game.
“I didn’t want to forget Jody, absolutely. I think he is the perfect match for him (Lampard).
“I don’t know Jody as a coach because I didn’t come across him, but everybody at the club here speaks very highly about his coaching abilities.
“And from what I see from the way Derby play, they’re really doing a great job.”