• This is an opportunity to change the culture of the club, says former forward.
• Cole also thinks Chelsea can become a credible threat to Manchester City
Joe Cole believes Frank Lampard’s appointment as Chelsea manager could prompt a major shift in the club’s identity and backed them to be a threat to Manchester City sooner rather than later.
Lampard returned to the club where he holds legendary status earlier this summer and is currently rebuilding following Eden Hazard’s departure and the Fifa-imposed transfer ban.
Despite those challenges, BT Sport pundit Cole believes the situation presents an ideal opportunity for Lampard to shake things up at Stamford Bridge.
“This is an opportunity to change the culture of the club, change how the club is perceived,” Cole said.
“The culture is fine in the sense we’re a successful team but there can be improvements made. We need to use this time now to blood the youngsters, get a settled side, settled staff, settled fan base.”
“Frank has got many things in his favour and one of those is being a club legend. He’s got other attributes as a man and manager in that he can deal with any type of dressing room, any type of character. Nobody knows the club like him and the intricacies of it. He’s in a perfect position to sort it out.”
Cole was speaking after the release of a BT Sport-commissioned report that used vast amounts of football data to predict the new season. It projected that Chelsea would finish fourth this season. The 37-year-old believes that is feasible and even backed the Blues to become challengers to Manchester City’s domestic dominance sooner rather than later.
He added: “You need harmony in a team to win things and if you can achieve that then next summer go and get the right players and add to it. Chelsea could be the one who emerges to contend with Manchester City regularly.”
“City have done a stellar job in setting up their club for success and it’s going to take someone like a Chelsea to really improve in all aspects to match them.”
Cole revealed he is still coaching at Chelsea while he earns his qualifications and admits there is a buzz around the place following Lampard’s return.
He said: “I really like working with young players, giving back and the challenge of imparting my knowledge. It’s not easy. I can sense that it has energised the place. That is what good leaders do, they bring a sense of wonder and excitement that wasn’t there before so it’s an exciting time to be a young player at Chelsea.”
“Coaching and teaching are very different, you can’t just tell someone you’ve got to push, sometimes you’ve got to pull and inspire. It’s secondary to playing. You can’t play forever, nobody can, but I can give my knowledge and wisdom to other players. There’s a bit of selfishness there because I get a lot out of it. It’s a great job and I love doing it.”
“One day my time will come and when a call arrives with an opportunity to manage then I probably would do but that would be a long way down the line.”