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Frank Lampard discusses Chelsea return ahead of Championship play-off final

The Derby County manager has addressed speculation about his future ahead of the play-off final against Aston Villa on Monday.

Lampard, who spent thirteen years playing for Chelsea, responded to the rumours by acknowledging the link was always going to be there.

During Friday’s play-off final press conference, though, he said now is not the time to talk about it.

“It’s been a bit of an obvious link all season. We’ve had a good year and I get linked because of my time with the club,” said Lampard.

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“I understand the link but in terms of how I’m seeing it, I don’t want to think or talk about it. I want to talk about Monday. I want to talk about the team and get us over the line.

“My focus, all year, has been on how well I can do in this job because this club gave me an opportunity.

“It’s an easy link and an easy headline. I have two years left on my contract and I am thankful for that opportunity.”

That opportunity, provided by owner Mel Morris, is one Lampard has relished this season. Getting Derby promoted is the perfect way to show his worth.

“This game is for the fans. It’s for the people who come every week, year after year, who want to see their club get promoted.

 It’s for Mel Morris and his family because of what they’ve done for this club. His input can’t be understated,” said Lampard.

Getting past a strong Villa side will be tough. Derby, like in the Leeds game, are seen as the underdogs. Lampard said:

“With the squad that Villa have amassed, along with the fact they were there last year, I think people on the outside will fancy them.

“It doesn’t matter to us. It’s a great challenge. We all have to step up and try and overcome it.”

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The play-off final is always an emotional day. One emotion Lampard can be certain on, no matter what the outcome, is pride.

“The main emotion will be pride. I will be very proud. After this year, I’m proud that we’ve managed to get here and hopefully we can go one more.

“Win or lose, as long as the players give everything, I will be proud of them. I know the fans will be proud of them.”

Featured image/Connor Woolley

Connor Woolley
Connor, 26, comes from Long Eaton. As a Nottingham Forest supporter, he’ll say he is from Nottingham, but ask his Derby County supporting friends or family and they will proudly say they’re from Derby. He earned a degree in Media Studies from Nottingham Trent University in 2014. After graduating, Connor spent some time working in Public Relations. More recently, he has volunteered as a Police Special Constable. Passionate about all things football, Connor is specifically interest in goalkeeping. He still plays occasionally, although now it’s more trying than playing. After trying surfing for the first time on holiday this summer, he has found a new love, which he hopes to pursue further in the future. He also practices the Israeli self defence, Krav Maga. Connor hopes to improve his writing and broadcast skills with the Sports Gazette and St Mary’s University.
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