Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has insisted that Maurizio Sarri is ‘a very good manager’ and has been unfortunate to have had his philosophy so heavily questioned.
Sarri arrived at Stamford Bridge in the summer, with Chelsea fans hoping to see his exciting and much-heralded ‘Sarri-ball’, with the Italian having transformed Napoli into one of the most exciting teams in Europe.
He has however struggled to fully showcase his style of play in the Premier League and has faced much criticism for his persistence in utilising Jorginho as a holding midfielder while N’Golo Kante has been pushed into a more advanced position.
However, having started to forge his own managerial career at Championship side Derby County, Blues legend Frank Lampard admits that he has the utmost respect for managers like Sarri who solely believe in a certain style of play, and thinks that the 60-year-old has been ‘unfortunate’ to see his preferred style criticised.
“I respect managers who have a belief in a philosophy or system,” the Derby boss told Goal. “I have never worked with Sarri, but I did see his Napoli team play fantastic football.
“I think it has been unfortunate for Sarri himself, everyone has come up with this ‘Sarri-ball’ term, but I am not sure I have ever heard him actually milk that one or make it his own. I think he is just trying to win football games and he has brought in players who want to play the way he wants to play. Everyone has become a little bit focused on that fact. I think he is a very good manager.
“In terms of compared to my style, yes, I look at the players I have and what I can do with that. You try to play in the best way you can. When we played against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup, Sarri spoke to me after the game. He was very complimentary about us, but he was talking about all the games we played over the last weeks.
“He is not just looking at how Chelsea are playing, he is looking at his opponents, and he is trying to get good results for Chelsea Football Club. I have got respect for him. I don’t know him that well but I have got respect for him.”
Lampard has been touted as a potential managerial replacement for Sarri, who currently sees his Chelsea side languishing in sixth following their surprise 2-0 defeat to Everton before the international break.