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Wilder: Lampard doing a good job at Chelsea
Lampard is the Blues’ record scorer with 211 goals for the club.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has spoken of his admiration for Frank Lampard as he conducts his fledgling managerial career under the media microscope.
After a glittering playing career which saw him win 11 major trophies and over 100 England caps, Lampard took his first step into management just over a year ago at Derby and led them to the Championship play-off final.
His work at Pride Park, which included lowering the average age of the squad and promoting young players, as well as changing the style of play, made his former club Chelsea pay attention as the hierarchy at Stamford Bridge recognised qualities they needed to steer them through what is a transitional stage while the club operates under a transfer embargo.
Lampard’s appointment raised eyebrows in some quarters, but Wilder has a lot of respect for the 41-year-old as he continues to learn on the job in the spotlight.
“There’s always been a lot of focus on Frank. His first game as manager of Derby was at Reading and got the season under way on a Friday night, right until the end at Derby in the play-off final,” said Wilder, whose team face Chelsea on Saturday.
“There was always all that ‘Frank Lampard’s Derby County’ stuff going around. Lots of folk used to laugh at it but, do you know what, for me that shows he was ready to deal with the pressure and knowing all eyes were on him.
“Now he’s at Chelsea it’s the same, it’s even more intense. But he’s doing a good job. He’s got the job I think most of us knew he was always destined for given his history with the club and legendary status there, and I’m sure he’ll do very well.
“He worked under some great managers at Chelsea and he’ll have picked up lots from them. I’m sure he will want to replicate the kind of career he had as a player at Chelsea now he is manager.”
Sheffield United have made a solid start to life back in the Premier League, collecting four points from their opening three matches against Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Leicester.
There is no doubt the trip to Chelsea is their biggest, most high-profile, challenge yet, but Wilder said: “Every game in this division is tough but we have to back ourselves.
“If we do get a result, it won’t be the biggest result we have ever got – or the biggest shock in football. We have to believe in ourselves but respect the opposition.
“Chelsea will be tough but we want to be competitive. This is the reason we wanted promotion, for every game we’re playing.”
Club record signing Oli McBurnie could be handed his first Premier League start for the Blades.
The 23-year-old striker scored his first goal for the club in the defeat to Leicester and could be rewarded with a place in the team at Stamford Bridge, having been withdrawn at half-time during the EFL Cup win against Blackburn in midweek.
Wilder made 10 alterations for that second round tie and wholesale changes are expected again.