Frank Lampard warned off “unforgiving” Chelsea as Maurizio Sarri whispers swirl
Darren Bent has warned Frank Lampard not to rush into a reunion with Chelsea because they are an “unforgiving” club.
Lampard is 90 minutes away from ending Derby County’s 11-year exile from the Premier League, and can crown his first season in management by beating Aston Villa in the £180million Championship play-off final on Monday.
Blues fans are already preparing to hang out the bunting to welcome the club’s record scorer back to Stamford Bridge as boss if Maurizio Sarri leaves after his debut year in charge ends with Wednesday’s Europa League Final against London rivals Arsenal.
But Lampard’s former England team-mate Bent, who played for both Derby and Villa, believes he would be better-served staying at Pride Park for another year – irrespective of whether the Rams go up or not.
Bent said: “Frank has done a fantastic job, especially the way he’s kept them believing when it looked like they were going to fall short of the towards the end of the season.
“That’s a fine achievement for a first-time manager in his first year doing the job. I know there are Chelsea fans who would put him in charge at Stamford Bridge tomorrow, and I would agree that Frank is destined to manage at the top level.
“But you are talking about a different animal at Chelsea – the step up is massive. We’ve seen a lot of managers, who have been around a lot longer than Frank has, go there and fail. And we know it’s not a forgiving club, patience wears thin pretty quickly, and if you aren’t winning trophies within a year or 18 months, usually you’re out the door.
“I would like to think that whether or not Derby are promoted on Monday, another year is not going to do him any harm in the long run.”
Villa’s barnstorming end to the season catapulted Dean Smith’s side into the play-offs. But their last trip to Wembley, 12 months ago, ended in defeat by Fulham and a close shave with financial apocalypse, and Bent is worried about another near-miss.
He said: “It would be so tough for Villa to cope with, reaching the play-off final two years running and losing them both. If Jack Grealish calls the tune, Villa have a great chance — but Derby have got Mason Mount, who can have the same effect on a game.”