Former Chelsea manager José Mourinho hailed Blues legend Frank Lampard as the best Premier League player for a decade, in a recent interview in Singapore.
While the Portuguese was visiting Singapore for business reasons, he caused quite a stir in England after choosing to break his silence regarding his future. Although Mourinho was typically coy in his responses, he did confirm that he was looking to return to management as soon as possible.
However, the former Chelsea manager also had an opportunity to reflect on his career when Singapore’s Straits Times asked him to name the best player he has coached. The 53-year-old listed several legendary names — one of which was Blues’ great Frank Lampard.
“It is very unfair for me to say that,” said Mourinho, when asked to select his best ever player. “Many times people asked me to do my best team with all the players I have, and I think it’s very unfair. Who was my best player, it’s so hard and so difficult to say, and I coached some of the best players in the world.
“I had incredible players. At Chelsea, in my first period I had Frank Lampard, probably the best player in the Premier League for one decade.”
Mourinho also named some other iconic players in his answer: “I went to Inter [Milan], I had [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, I got [Javier] Zanetti. I got to Madrid, I had [Cristiano] Ronaldo. I come back to Chelsea and I find other top players.
“I have so many, they gave me so much, it’s not fair to say this is the one. It’s impossible to win so many things without the players so I respect all of them.”
Lampard’s incredible consistency was invaluable to Chelsea’s cause
Frank Lampard will rightly go down as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever midfielders. It was his uncanny ability to stay fit and perform at a high standard season after season that was of such value to Chelsea.
The Englishman played a minimum of 30 Premier League games every season between 2001-02 and 2011-12, with the exception of only two campaigns (2007-08 and 2010-11). The goalscoring midfielder also found the back of the net 20 times in all competitions for five consecutive years between 2005 and 2010.
As the player who still holds the record for the most number of consecutive Premier League appearances (164) for an outfield player, Lampard is an example for young midfielders all over the world. It is easy to understand why Mourinho, as well as the managers before and after him, saw the New York City midfielder as an essential piece in the Chelsea jigsaw.