Jose Mourinho has claimed Frank Lampard could succeed him as Chelsea manager, as he prepares to face the former Stamford Bridge hero in Sunday’s Premier League game against Manchester City.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini confirmed Lampard is set to play some part in the clash against his former club at the Etihad Stadium, but Mourinho suggested the midfielder’s loan spell with City and move to MLS side New York City are merely an interruption in a continuing Chelsea story for the club’s all-time record goalscorer.
“He can be back one day, I think so. If he wants to be a manager, he could succeed me,” Mourinho said.
“I still believe that what this club proposed to him, which is to be back when he wants and to do what he wants – these were the words from [owner Roman] Abramovich – I think it’s not in any danger.
“It’s just a period of his career. We thought he was going to play for New York. He decided to play for Man City. It was just an option, and he had that right to do that. His place in Chelsea’s history is untouchable. I think, in the future, nothing has been lost.”
Mourinho was quizzed on his seemingly frosty relationship with Pellegrini ahead of Sunday’s latest meeting, which was strained further by the Chelsea manager’s lavish celebrations as he jumped into the crowd to celebrate his side’s late winner against City last season.
That reaction was not welcomed by Pellegrini and the duo also have history of clashes during their time in Spanish football. Mourinho came up with a typically comical way to describe their dealings.
“We don’t spend holidays together,” Mourinho said with a smile. “I’m not inviting him to have dinner at my house and he doesn’t invite me to have lunch at his, but I respect the person and the manager.
“I met him in Geneva [at a managers meeting earlier this month]. Obviously, I gave him my hand. I don’t turn my back and nor did he. We don’t have personal issues.
“I will be on the bench. If he comes, at his house [Etihad Stadium] and gives me his hand, I will give him mine. No problems. Far from problems.”