Frank Lampard says that he is “proud to be Chelsea manager” because of the way the west London club has responded to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chelsea manager was speaking to Sky Sports as he complimented the quick response of the club to help where possible with the coronavirus outbreak.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 13, 2020
“I’m very proud to be the manager of this club with the way Chelsea have handled it,” Lampard told Sky Sports. “They were very quick to respond with the help of the hotel and there’s a lot more work going on with the foundation, with link-ups and with getting in touch with fans. There are a lot of people at Chelsea who have really stood up.”
The UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, created headlines for criticising Premier League footballers to "play their part," speaking at a time when plans were already being drawn for initiatives such as Players Together.
“Football players will try and do the right thing,” Lampard said. “I think they needed some time and the politicians jumped the gun while things were being prepared. It was unfortunate that picture got painted.
“Since then a lot of players have stood up. The situation is not perfect but, knowing players, that’s been a very good reaction and it’s ongoing and it shouldn’t stop. If there’s a light at the end of this tunnel it’s how we give back.
Players have been training at home on fitness plans in isolation, a scenario that Lampard says requires him to trust his squad.
“It’s very hard to absolutely manage that,” he said. “You can ask them to run an hour a day but some are able to do some open running and some can’t so there’s a big element of trust in the players.
"We may have a short pre-season coming up so the players need to be ready. But they are professionals so you have to trust that they will want to come back as well as they can.”
Lampard also paid tribute to former Chelsea goalkeeper and England World Cup winner Peter Bonetti, who died on Sunday.
“I’ve got memories of watching him as a player and also meeting him and what a gentleman he was. He was working in hospitality upstairs when I first came to Chelsea and he was so friendly, he had time for everybody.
"He was an absolute gentleman and it’s a huge loss for Chelsea and for football.”