Frank Lampard had a promising first season in management at Derby County, where he was appointed in May 2018. His team won 24 of their 57 matches in all competitions, finishing sixth in the Championship before reaching a playoff final they lost narrowly to Aston Villa. They also progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they lost to Premier League Brighton, and eliminated Manchester United from the League Cup before losing to Chelsea in the fourth round.
His predecessor Maurizio Sarri, since recruited by Italian champions Juventus, led Chelsea to both third in the Premier League and the Europa League trophy in often hostile circumstances. Their best player, Eden Hazard, was sold to Real Madrid, and a transfer ban meant that the pre-arranged signings of Christian Pulisic and Mateo Kovacic were the only ones made to strengthen Lampard’s squad. The circumstances were therefore right to finally test the club’s many promising young players, who so far have delivered, suggesting that Lampard is capable of building on the optimism that came with his appointment as the successor to one of Europe’s most respected coaches.