Frank Lampard insists he doesn’t want to emulate Jose Mourinho’s unique style as the Chelsea manager plots to outwit his old boss in Sunday’s crucial clash at Tottenham.
Lampard’s first Premier League meeting with Mourinho is the headline act in a fascinating derby that will determine which of the London rivals spends Christmas Day in the top four.
Spurs manager Mourinho played a key role in Lampard’s emergence as one of Chelsea’s all-time greats during their time together at Stamford Bridge.
The former England midfielder acknowledges Mourinho was a big influence on him as a player but, now he is in the dug-out, he will follow his own path rather than copy the Portuguese coach.
Asked to name the most important lesson he took from working with the 56-year-old, Lampard said: “There’s not one thing, no; he’s obviously a good manager with loads of good attributes.
“But there’s not one specific thing I learned working under him, and I wouldn’t strive to be a clone or anything.
“I’m happy to go up against Jose; for me to play under him, he was a big influence in my career.”
Lampard and Mourinho remain on good terms from their Chelsea days — the Tottenham manager promising a “big hug” when they meet before kick-off and talking of his “love” for the 41-year-old.
But that didn’t stop the student admitting beating his old teacher in such an important game would be a memorable moment.
Chelsea were 12 points ahead of Tottenham when Mourinho replaced the sacked Mauricio Pochettino in November.
That gap is now down to just three after Mourinho masterminded an immediate Tottenham revival with four wins from his five league games.