On the long list of fines for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea players, there’s one that somehow didn’t make the list. That omission is an incident involving Ross Barkley and an issue with a taxi driver over split chips, of all things. How Lampard handed Barkley when he missed a penalty two weeks prior to the incident offers a glimpse into life under the Chelsea manager.
Lampard will allow his players to be themselves to a certain point, such as relaxing on a night out, , and however else they like to unwind; just as long as they don’t get into any trouble. That point was made clear to Barkley.
In Lampard’s first Champions League match as coach, Barkley missed the spot-check against Valencia, which ended with a 1-0 defeat. In the moments leading up to the penalty, Jorghino and Willian woke to Barkley about which player should take it. While tensions had the potential to escalate, Lampard handled the situation.
Barkley was the designated taker. Until 10 days later when Lampard handed the job to Jorghino. Lampard didn’t explain what had caused him to make the change. But it appeared to be the right move. What could have been an ongoing issue was resolved, with minimal fuss.
Just two weeks later, Barkley again made the headlines- this time over the dispute with a Liverpool cabbie. Barkley travelled with the team, with Lampard saying that while the player had been naive, no cub rules were broken. Just before another key match, Lampard had shut down the issue. But he made his point another way by leaving him out of the matchday squad. Fortunately for Lampard and Chelsea, Willian scored what turned out to be the winner. If he hadn’t, questions may have been asked.
Lampard’s fine show just how much discipline matters to him. Unlike previous managers Jose Mourinho and Maurizio Sarri, however, he doesn’t seem to have an interest fighting with his players in public. Up until now, it appears to be working for him. Players are not only doing their job but are quick to compliment Lampard.
, fourth officials, and referees all might get an earful, So far, however, Lampard has remained local to his squad. Of course, that’s easier to do when you’re winning. But then, it isn’t as though he’s been without his share of challenges. One example of that was having to relegate such experienced players as Olivier Giroud. He managed to do so without causing a disruption in the process.
No circus here
He’s also been tasked with handling the circus that comes with Christian Pulisic. The American was the club’s lone new signing this summer, and throughout his slow start, Lampard made it clear that anyone creating noise needs to calm down. While there was talk that Lampard didn’t like the player, after Pulisic started to change games when coming on as a sub, he earned his right to start and has shown that he belongs.
Lampard’s younger players are the ones who are making the headlines and it’s the older ones who are setting the tone. Of course, Lampard sets the rules. The manager’s faith in , Mason Mount, and Tomori has been rewarded. They are now a part of the England first team, although that doesn’t mean that Lampard will allow them to get complacent. He won’t hear any fickle talk of championships. At least not in public. As is the stance he’s taken with Pulisic, the emphasis is on one day at a time.