Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will use Frank Lampard sparingly in the new Premier League season, but believes the veteran midfielder can develop a niche for himself just as Claude Makelele did during his first spell as Blues boss.
For much of 2013, Lampard looked set to leave Chelsea, but a new one-year deal was handed to the 35-year-old once Mourinho returned, and now the Portuguese has revealed how he will deploy the midfielder in the coming months.
"Frank can’t play 60 matches like he did before, but the quality of the player and what he represents for the way I like to play football is exactly the same," Mourinho told reporters in Jakarta, Indonesia.
"He’s intelligent, he’s open, he has a very good relationship with me.
"He knows that I’m very experienced and he knows what I did, for example, with Makelele at Chelsea. In the last two years of Makelele’s time with us, he played a lot of games in the end years of his career and had success.
"Frank knows I know how to do it with players of his age, because at the end of the day we have to be just clever, because the player is the same."
Mourinho went on to suggest Lampard will have to adapt to his new status as that will often include a watching brief from the bench, but he is convinced the club’s all-time record goal scorer will accept missing key games in the coming months.
"With Frank, the role doesn’t have to change," added Mourinho. "What has to change is the way we analyse every competition. With Frank when I was here before, we didn’t have to analyse. Every match, he plays.
"I believe he is the same player now, but there is a difference. He is 35 and the time needed to recover from match to match is not the same for a man of 25 as a man of 35.
"That’s the only point. Now we have to analyse the fixtures, analyse the matches, analyse the week we have and to make a few choices."