Frank Lampard: Derby County reaching play-off final 'up there' in career highs

Published on: 16 May 2019

Frank Lampard won 106 caps for England and 13 major trophies while a Chelsea player

Frank Lampard says guiding Derby County to the Championship play-off final is a comparable feeling to anything he achieved in his playing career.

The former England and Chelsea player's side fought back from 2-0 down on aggregate to beat Leeds United 4-3 over two legs and reach Wembley.

It is Lampard's first season as a manager having stopped playing in 2017.

"In terms of personal achievement, the feeling is as much as I've had in football," said the 40-year-old.

"It's not the personal achievement of being able to win stuff at Chelsea, but in terms of how I feel right now, it's up there.

"I was fortunate in my playing career in the Champions League, winning leagues.

"But when you come here at the start of the season and you feel the club and the fans and the position the club were in, to be here tonight, they're heroes," Lampard added on BBC Radio Derby.

    Derby fight back to reach Wembley Rams appoint Lampard as manager Lampard ends playing career

Their 4-2 victory at Elland Road victory saw Derby become the first team to recover from losing the first leg of a Championship play-off semi-final at home to reach the Wembley final, where they will face Aston Villa on 27 May.

"The pressure as a manager is more intense than a player," Lampard added. "I wanted this so badly. You worry you want it too badly. I'm very proud.

"It means a great deal. From day one since I came in we have had issues, as every club has, and there have been ups and downs.

"We've done something that has not been done before."

Lampard's playing records

Frank Lampard make 649 appearances for Chelsea in 13 years with the club

    Won 13 trophies as a player with Chelsea including three Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the 2012 Champions League Only Ryan Giggs (632) and Gareth Barry (615) have made more Premier League appearances than Lampard (609). His total of 177 goals is the Premier League's fourth highest behind Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Andy Cole. He has scored more goals from outside the box than any other Premier League player (41). Lampard scored against a record 39 different teams in the Premier League. No England player has scored as many penalties as Lampard (nine), excluding shootouts.

Lampard's rollercoaster managerial debut

Frank Lampard has won 24 and lost 15 of his 56 games as Derby County manager

Lampard's first season in charge has not been plain sailing - he saw his side thumped by Leeds 4-1 in his first home game as manager back in August.

While County beat Manchester United on penalties at Old Trafford in the Carabao Cup in September, he was embroiled in the 'spygate' scandal in January after Leeds were found to have sent a member of staff to observe a Derby training session ahead of their meeting at Elland Road which Derby went on to lose 2-0.

Two wins in 10 league games between mid-February and April saw the Rams drop to eighth in the table, but four wins and two draws in their last six games ensured they secured the final play-off place.

"This is Frank's first season," County's owner Mel Morris told BBC Radio Derby.

"No-one's ever done this before; one more big game to go, but what an achievement already. I thought tonight we deserved the win by a long shot.

"All the stuff that's gone before between the clubs, but I said tonight, 4-1, 2-0, 1-0, it's about time they took a tanking from us."