'It's not an old boys' club' – Lampard announces Chelsea staff as Zola departs

The new Chelsea boss is ready for the challenge ahead and happy with his coaching staff after his return to Stamford Bridge was confirmed

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard insisted he is not building an old boys’ network at Stamford Bridge as he confirmed his backroom coaching setup, which does not include Gianfranco Zola.

Lampard was announced as Maurizio Sarri’s successor on Thursday after an impressive one-season spell in charge of Championship side Derby County.

The club legend will be joined in the dugout by assistant coaches Jody Morris and Chris Jones, while under-23s coach Joe Edwards will move up to the first team alongside Eddie Newton.

But Zola will not be part of Lampard’s staff, with Chelsea confirming the Italian – drafted in as assistant boss to Sarri last year – is to make way with immediate effect.

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, before Zola’s departure was made official, Lampard said: “Jody is coming with me as assistant head coach – we have a really close relationship, friendship and are like-minded in the way we think about football.

“He obviously has a great link with the academy which is important, but more than that he is a fantastic coach. Chris will be here as coach, and again it’s the trust thing. Eddie brings great experience and quality of coaching.

“It’s a very Chelsea-orientated team but what I want to make clear is this is not an old boys’ club. What I’m trying to put together with this staff is talent – it’s fresh talent in my eyes. 

“We are relatively young but we are not inexperienced. I may have only one year in management but in Jody, Joe, Eddie and Chris we have many years of coaching within us.”

With just one season under his belt, Lampard denied suggestions he is too inexperienced for such a big job.

“I think football is littered with stories of inexperienced managers who do really really well, some spectacularly well, and some that don’t,” he said. “Then there’s some experienced managers who do really, really well and some that don’t.

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“In my playing career I played under a lot of managers, fantastic managers. There are things I have learned along the way, tried to mould to be myself and I think that will hold me in good stead. 

“I have had one year at Derby where I think I have learned a lot and I think I know a lot about this club and how it works. I have to prove that. Simple as that. People will question that, I am ready for that.”

As Chelsea embark on a new era, two more former players in Claude Makelele and Didier Drogba have also been tipped to return to Stamford Bridge in some capacity.

Lampard, who will work closely with technical and performance adviser Petr Cech, vowed appointments will be made on merit and not because of their stature at the club. 

“As a club, it’s not just bringing in players who played for the club, but people who feel the club and have an incredible work ethic,” he said.

“The reason Petr Cech is here is because he has an incredible work ethic. I played with him and I know that and he has a real desire to be a positive for this club. That is a first talent or attribute you need so that’s how I see what we are trying to build.”

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