FRANK LAMPARD is aiming to integrate his new Chelsea signings into the team as soon as possible – but is most excited to see his academy kids continue their development.
The Blues boss led his side – missing a few new faces – to a 3-1 win in their Premier League opener against Brighton.
Now, in the build-up to their huge clash with champions Liverpool on Sunday, Lampard has set out his plans for his squad this season.
And above all else – despite the signing of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Thiago Silva – Lampard can't wait to watch protege Mason Mount continue his development.
When told Mount had recently admitted Lampard was his hero growing up, the Blues boss told Sure during an Instagram Live chat: "It's a strange feeling, but it's nice [to be idolised by Mount].
"One of the beauties of me coming back and getting this job was because I knew the academy well.
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"I trained with a few of the lads like Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Andreas Christensen [as a player].
"Obviously Mason and Tammy [Abraham] were a bit younger than that – but I knew the players.
"When you have an academy that runs like Chelsea's and they develop players like Mason, Tammy, Fikayo [Tomori] from the age of eight or nine, they have a real feeling for the club.
"I'm sure Tammy looked up to Didier Drogba, Fikayo would have looked up to John Terry… so it's a nice feeling."
On Mount, Lampard continued: "I love working with the young players here and it helps if Mason says those nice things about me, I like it.
"I just try to make him better and it's easy when you have that feeling between you and we work hard on the training pitch.
"What he did last year was incredible and he'll keep getting better."
Despite continuing to focus on youth, as he was almost forced to following last summer's transfer ban, Lampard is excited to get his new mega-money buys on the pitch.
The Chelsea chief said: "My plan is to integrate [the new signings] into the team as quickly as we can.
"I think we've made a few signings like this because we couldn’t really do it last year.
"So we asked: how can we improve the squad in what areas?
"My job now is to integrate them quickly.
"We brought some young players… Werner, Havertz and Ziyech, as well as Thiago Silva who is obviously very experienced."
But Lampard demanded patience from fans – saying it may take some time for them all to settle after Werner admitted he'd never come up against such big defenders before his Brighton bow.
The Stamford Bridge boss added: "The players played in different leagues in European football.
The Premier League is very different in its physical nature and the speed of it.
"My job is to make them comfortable and get the best out of them as soon as I can.
"I’m confident we will do that, but we must be a little bit patient because sometimes even the greatest talents can take a little bit of time with the Premier League.
"I’ll support them through that time and hopefully we will see a lot of great things really soon."
Elsewhere, Lampard is relishing the prospect of playing Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, despite losing both encounters in 2019-20.
The Blues did, however, win their FA Cup showdown and wants to show no fear hosting the champions on Sunday.
Lampard claimed: “I am very excited. Liverpool were clearly the best team in the league last year, they won it by a long way.
"But every game we played against them we really competed well.
"We beat them in the FA Cup and lost pretty narrowly in both league games where we made a really good account of ourselves.
"I’m excited for us to see how the players match up against them and see where we’re at.
"We have some new players now, we are slightly short on fitness. I think our pre-season has been one of the hardest in the league.
"Liverpool have been training a couple weeks more than us, but what a great early opportunity to match up against them and see what we can do.
"We have to be confident, we can’t fear Liverpool, we respect them, but we will believe in ourselves."
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