Lampard fully behind new boss Villas-Boas
Frank Lampard has dismissed former Chelsea captain Marcel Desailly's claims that manager Andre Villas-Boas is under pressure to get his squad on side.
Last week Desailly warned the new Blues boss he must hit the ground running or face losing the support of his dressing room. However, Lampard, who at 33 is only a few months younger than Villas-Boas, insists respecting the man at the helm will never be a problem at Stamford Bridge.
"I read that he has to gain our respect instantly, and it's never like that at football clubs," he said. "It certainly isn't for me personally, and it wouldn't be for John Terry. You want to impress. I want to impress him now at the age of 33 just the same as I did when I was 22. Simple as that.
"We are here to impress as individuals, and we want to make the group successful. We will always respect the manager, and that applies with any manager we get."
After paying more than £13 million compensation to activate his release clause and free him from his contract with Portuguese champions Porto, Villas-Boas arrives at Stamford Bridge with a lot of pressure heaped upon his young shoulders. Despite the high expectations, Lampard says he is well-equipped to deal with the glare from the media spotlight, particularly considering his relative inexperience.
"He is really mature for his age," Lampard said. "He doesn't really come across as the same age as me, I am probably more immature than him in a way, but he certainly has a great maturity about him. He sort of hides his years really. I'm 33 and I'm the same. I feel good, I feel experienced, I feel as hungry, I feel like I missed most of last season really with the injuries I never had before, so there is a desire to get going again."
Chelsea have looked impressive during pre-season, most notably in their performances en route to winning the Asia Trophy in Hong Kong. "We've improved, I think every game has been a general improvement, we have got together with the new staff and manager, and the assistants and I just think that we have improved," Lampard said.
"It's been a two way thing, he has been assessing players, that's why everyone has got a lot of minutes, from young players all the way through, and I just think we have been getting used to the manager and his style. I wouldn't say there is a new trend in the way of giving us more freedom. I think the manager is trying to liberate, but players have been given the freedom to liberate themselves for quite a long time at Chelsea.
"I think we have got a strong squad, and if the manager adds to it and it makes us stronger then we will all be happy, I certainly will be. It remains to be seen in the time to the end of the window."
One player who has caught the eye more than most is young midfielder Josh McEachran, and Lampard is tipping the 18-year-old for a big breakthrough year - even if he does not feature as regularly as he would like.
"I think Josh does give us something different. He gives us something in the middle of the park, a great elegance in the way he plays. He receives the ball really well, he can play a killer pass, he's stronger than he looks with his frame. He's going to be a top player. There will be a position for him, he's not going to play 50 games this season, but you can see from pre-season already that he is going to be involved a lot more, and that's great for him."