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Wright-Phillips: Lampard deserves every success

SHAUNY WRIGHT WRIGHT WRIGHT: Club legend Shaun Wright-Phillips shares his thoughts ahead of City v Chelsea...
Shaun Wright-Phillips is delighted to see Frank Lampard earning positive recognition on the managerial stage.

The Chelsea boss has impressed during his tenure at Stamford Bridge, making an instant impact in the Londoners’ upturn in fortunes.

Lampard’s in-form outfit provide City’s next test, as the Premier League Champions return to domestic action in a crucial Saturday evening kick-off.

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Wright-Phillips – who enjoyed spells with both clubs – is relishing the encounter. Having played alongside Lampard for both Club and country, the pair developed a close bond both on and off the pitch – and ‘Sweep’ asserts he will never forget Lampard’s kindness during his early career at Stamford Bridge.

“He deserves every success,” he stated. “On top of being such a good person, he’s proving to be a great manager.

“It was a joy for me to play alongside him and be around him, seeing the way he played and the situations he made happen.

“He played with so much passion and desire – that was the way he played every game. Management was the next best thing for him after he retired – the chance to give somebody else what he had; to learn the way he played. That’s a bonus for any player.

“I had some amazing times. When I first went to Chelsea, it was hard. It was something I wasn’t expecting, but that’s football.

“He was one of the main people to help me settle in – him and some other players. You never forget things like that. I was young; the price I went for was high at the time. They made it easy for me to settle in and be comfortable around them.

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“I’ve been overly impressed with how he’s adapted to life as a manager. I think he’s done a tremendous job, especially with the doubt and pressure there was on him. People thought he couldn’t’ do it.

“What he’s done so far is brilliant and I think he’s only going to get better and better, along with the team.”

During Wright-Phillips’ first spell at City, fixtures against Chelsea often brought little to cheer.

However, one clash at the Etihad Stadium in October 2004 – just over 15 years ago – proved particularly memorable, as Kevin Keegan’s side edged out the eventual Champions in a shock win, courtesy of a contentious Nicolas Anelka penalty.

Lampard also struck the post that day, thanks to the fingertips of David James, and Wright-Phillips admitted fortune had favoured the hosts, as he fondly recalled the result.

“I don’t remember it in great detail,” he laughed, “but I always say that in football, sometimes you need a little bit of luck and we had some luck that day!

“I think it’s going to be a very tough game on Saturday, especially with the form that Chelsea are in. It’s a massive game.

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“We’ll need to take our chances when they come. It will be very exciting, especially for the neutrals with the way both teams play – very attacking, flowing football and they both defend very well.

“I’m especially interested to see how Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount match up. I’ll be watching the game with a Supporters Club in Arizona with the fans.

“Now for City, coming up to the Christmas period – the toughest period – it’s important that we start to build some momentum.

“The boys have to rally together and do what they can to get the results they need. I think we did well against Liverpool, especially with the injuries we have.

“It’s still early days. Teams will drop points. As long as we’re picking up points, there’s still time to turn it around. It isn’t over until it’s over!”

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