FRANK LAMPARD says he will discuss his future with Derby County owner Mel Morris after Monday’s Play-off final against Aston Villa at Wembley – amid growing speculation he is set to replace Maurizio Sarri as Chelsea manager.
However the 40-year-old promised anxious Derby fans he will not let the rumours affect him or wreck the Rams dream of winning promotion to the Premier League on Monday.
Chelsea legend Lamps is 90 minutes away from capping a stunning debut season in management by leading Derby back to the Premier League after 11 years in the Championship.
That meteoric rise has led to speculation Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s has installed Lampard his No.1 choice to replace Sarri at Stamford Bridge after Wednesday night’s Europa League final.
Speaking for the first time about the mounting speculation Lamps said: “Firstly I find it quite difficult because they (Chelsea) have a game coming up – more importantly for me we have a game coming up before that.
“Also they have a manager in Sarri who is trying to get them to win that final.
“It’s been a bit of an obvious link all season. If I say it’s maybe because of where we’re at – in the final – and we’re being talked about and we’ve had a good year and then I get linked because of my 13 years at the club, then I understand the link.
LAMPARD WILL TALK TO DERBY NEXT WEEK
“But in terms of how I’m seeing it, I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to talk about it.
“I want to talk about Monday, I want to work with the team and get this over the line for us.
“We’ve got a really difficult game coming up so it is what it is, to be fair. But that’s my absolute standpoint on it. My focus is on us on Monday.”
“I’ve got two years left on my contract here and I see no further forward than Monday.”
However once Derby’s season ends on the full-time whistle at Wembley, Lampard is scheduled for crucial talks with Rams owner Mel Morris about his future ambitions.
Lamps said: “I will sit down with Mel after the game which was planned before all this talk anyway, to see firstly what the result was on Monday because that’s going to define how we chat.
“And to see where the club goes forward. It’s as simple as that.
“I can tell straight away to the Derby fans my focus all year has been how well I can do in this job because this club gave me an opportunity.
LAMPARD FOCUS IS ON PLAY-OFF FINAL
“And I want to finish that this season as well as I can. That’s why my focus is so much on this game and I’m thankful for that opportunity.”
Lampard played 649 games during 13 years at Stamford Bridge and was asked if he could ever turn his old club down if they came calling.
“I’m not going to answer that question because it’s a headline,” he said.
“As I say, when I started out in management people say you must want to be Chelsea manager. It’s an easy link.
“My dream was to do as well as I can, day in, day out, to try and be successful. I can’t call that one.
“Those things happen or they don’t, or whatever. My focus is completely on the here and now.”
Morris claims ther has been no approach from Chelse for the rookie boss, but admits Lampard could return to Stanford Bridge as manager one day.
he said: "I'm sure Chelsea and Frank will re-unite at some point, and if that ever happened, you'd understand because that's his club.
"It's inevitable Frank will be linked with the Chelsea job, and maybe one day that will happen.
"But Chelsea are a very professional club, they have a huge game next week, huge in financial terms for the club but also in terms of achievement if they can win that final.
"Frank has done a phenomenal job here, so it's no surprise if a number of clubs are looking at him and thinking he could maybe do a great job for us one day. I'm not surprised by that, it's a compliment to Frank."
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