LONDON • Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is looking forward to the reunion with his former boss Carlo Ancelotti, now in charge of Everton, when the two sides meet in the English Premier League at Goodison Park today.
The Italian guided the Blues to the league and FA Cup double in the 2009-10 season, with Lampard one of the midfield mainstays.
The club's record goalscorer ruined Ancelotti's trip to Stamford Bridge in March with a 4-0 win, but he remains full of respect for his veteran counterpart.
"I was heavily influenced by him as a player and a man. He's right at the top of managers that I worked with," Lampard said at his virtual press conference on Thursday. "He's had huge success at various clubs. He was a great coach, a great man and I look forward to seeing him."
Everton led the table at the start of the season before a dip in form saw them slide to ninth place with 17 points, five behind third-placed Chelsea, who trailed leaders Tottenham by two points.
However, Lampard is still expecting a stern test of their title credentials today, saying: "The Premier League is unforgiving. They've had injuries. It doesn't change my thoughts on how to approach playing them.
"We're happy where we are but there's a long way to go. Words aren't important at this point."
Having secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League, which resumes in February, Chelsea can now focus their attention on domestic competitions.
Their quest for a first Premier League title since 2016-17 is of the utmost priority for Lampard, after spending over £200 million (S$353 million) in the summer.
"It was important for us to win our Champions league group and put that away until the new year. Our next four games show how challenging it is," he added.
Chelsea will be without injured wingers Hakim Ziyech (hamstring) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (thigh) for at least two weeks.
EVERTON V CHELSEA
Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, tomorrow, 4am