Frank Lampard lauded Carlo Ancelotti as a “fantastic manager” ahead of Everton’s trip to Chelsea on Sunday, insisting the Italian will be warmly received at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues boss will again come up against a former coach of his, having got the better of Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham two weeks ago.
With Chelsea buoyed by their midweek FA Cup win over Liverpool, their bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League continues with the visit of Ancelotti’s side.
Asked what sort of reception Ancelotti will get on returning to the club where he won the 2009-10 league and FA Cup double, Lampard said: “A very good one. He is very well respected in-house and by the fans.
“He is a gentleman, a fantastic manager. It was a good season under him.
“He is a great man-manager. On a personal level, he’s great at striking up relationships. He’s good tactically and has a great manner.
“I kept in touch with him now and again.”
Lampard’s injury worries have showed few signs of easing, with the likes of Tammy Abraham, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mateo Kovacic, Christian Pulisic, N’Golo Kante and Callum Hudson-Odoi – the latter of whom suffered a fresh setback on his return to training – definitely sidelined.
Willian will be assessed after suffering an Achilles injury against Liverpool, having opened the scoring in that game.
On the setback for Hudson-Odoi, who will undergo a scan on Friday, Lampard said: “It’s tough, he wasn’t rushed back, we had all the signs that he was fit to train. Then he re-injured it on his first training session with us.
“So it’s frustrating for him definitely, a young boy who’s keen to play, as you’d expect, and it’s frustrating because it’s another injury to us.
“It hasn’t been spoken about that much, but we’ve had probably the worst injury list of certainly the top group of the table I think, lots of numbers injured, important players injured, Kante, Loftus-Cheek etcetera.
“We started the season that way and it’s happened again in the middle of the season, and we’re working against that to try to get the best results.”
Fourth-placed Chelsea, who are three points clear of Manchester United and Wolves, were beaten 3-1 at Goodison Park in December, when Duncan Ferguson was in charge of the Toffees on a temporary basis.