Frank Lampard has pledged not to take offence at any managerial run-ins with Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea manager Lampard will go up against his former Blues boss and current Tottenham head coach Mourinho in Sunday’s Premier League London derby at Stamford Bridge.
The two London bosses have already butted heads several times in their latest roles, but Lampard insisted any friction is merely par for the course in their trade.
Last season Mourinho accused Lampard of employing former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s system to prevail 2-0 in north London in December 2019.
Lampard then rejected Mourinho’s claim he was merely offering managerial advice when the duo clashed on the touchline at Tottenham in September’s Carabao Cup clash.
Sunday’s west London battle could easily throw up further flashpoints, but Lampard remains relaxed about the changing dynamic between the two bosses.
Asked if he was surprised to receive criticism from Mourinho given their history, Lampard said: “I’m not surprised, in anything in management, because I think we all have similar jobs to do, and we all have to sit in these press conferences and we all have our personalities.
“I’ve got respect for Jose as a manager and I think that’s just how it is.
“I didn’t take any offence to the talk of Antonio Conte’s system or whatever.
“I played that system clearly a lot differently when we did play it last year from how Conte would have done.
“Jose can have his opinions, it’s not a problem. I’ve got respect for him and it’s nothing contentious for me.”
Mourinho’s resurgent Spurs top the Premier League table ahead of the weekend’s fixtures, while Lampard’s Chelsea sit in third.
Portuguese boss Mourinho appears back to his spiky and sparky best having failed to fully deliver at Manchester United.
And Lampard believes there should never have been any doubting Mourinho’s continued managerial abilities.
Asked if Spurs’ fine form proves Mourinho’s class, Lampard said: “Yeah of course it does. You don’t have a record as decorated as Jose Mourinho has as a manager without being a very talented coach.
“And for all of us the game is so reactionary at the moment, particularly in the modern era with social media reactions, that form will always be judged very harshly, for any manager.
“But they are in good form, on a good run, with good players and a good manager, and it will be a very difficult game for us.”
Sunday’s Spurs clash will be the 1,000th match of Roman Abramovich’s tenure as Chelsea owner.
Lampard hailed the Chelsea chief’s wide-ranging impact on both his own career and the fortunes of the west London club.
“As manager and a player involved in a lot of those games I can give him a huge thank you because nothing we have achieved in that era could have happened without him and his support,” said Lampard.
“When you’re talking about firstly of course a financial input, but also the development of the training ground, the love and time put into the academy, and the trophies we’ve been able to win, they’ve obviously all been made possible because of him.
“So we’re very thankful, I certainly am, our end of the bargain now is to try to work to remain successful on the pitch.”