During Saturday evenings 1-1 draw between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, there were signs of unease between one of Chelsea’s greatest legends, Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho. It’s almost sad to think back to the time when both were inseparable as they plotted Chelsea’s rise from mid-table mediocrity into Premier League champions.
Texting buddies when Mourinho was at Inter Milan and Real Madrid, the duo appear to have lost touch. Sometimes life moves on, and in this case, it was all too quickly.
There was an uneasy handshake with Chelsea’s manager, as Lampard settled into the visitors’ technical area before the 1-1 draw, but it was not the same.
Mourinho could hardly look Lampard in the eye, and whilst Lampard was evidently trying to play down the issue, there was enough in his post match comments to note there is something not right.
I don’t want to try to say that there’s any issue at all.
We are grown men, you know what I mean? We are at different football clubs. I’m sure we are big enough that none of this is going to get in the way of our relationship and how we are personally.
This is football, it’s sport and I haven’t spoken to him that much recently.
I don’t think there’s room for bitterness and if there is then I’ll deal with that down the line.
Lampard handled his return to Stamford Bridge in the way that anyone who has come across him during his professional career would expect him to: unruffled, polite, respectful and courteous. Never one to actively seek the limelight, he was understated and went about his business as a 77th minute substitute the way you would expect.
There were a few dissenting voices at Stamford Bridge when he appeared late in the second half, but his return home went as well as could be expected. The only disappointment will be the apparent disconnect between Mourinho and Lampard – obvious for all to see.