On Frank Lampard’s long list of fines for his Chelsea stars, there was one notable omission: what happens to a player who becomes embroiled in a dispute with a taxi driver over spilt chips?
That was the fate that befell Ross Barkley back in October. Lampard’s response – and how he dealt with Barkley’s missed penalty two weeks earlier – provided a telling insight into life under this Chelsea manager.
Against Valencia, in Lampard’s first Champions League match as coach, Barkley fired a late spot-kick over the bar as Chelsea began life back among Europe’s elite with a 1-0 home defeat.
How Frank Lampard has dealt with Ross Barkley is indicative of his time as Chelsea manager
On Tuesday, a list of fines that players can collect under Lampard was revealed by Sportsmail
Barkley has had bad moments on the pitch and off it but has not been hung out to dry
Sportsmail exclusively revealed a list of the fines implemented internally by Frank Lampard as Chelsea manager on Tuesday.
It showed the manager to be a serious disciplinarian, with players turning up for training late being hit with a £20,000 fine.
The full list of punishments are below…
1. Late for match day/first-team departure – £2,500
2. Late for report time for training – £2,500 (plus £2,500 for every 15 minutes thereafter)
3. Late in gym for pre-activation – £1,000
4. Late for treatment – £2,500
5. Late for team meetings – £500 per minute
6. Late for start of training – £20,000
7. Phone ringing during team meal or meeting – £1,000
8. Reporting in the wrong attire/kit for team travel and match days – £1,000
9. Not travelling back on team coach post match, without giving 48 hours notice to the manager or assistant manager – £5,000
10. Refusal or not turning up for corporate/community duties – £5,000
11. Not reporting illness or injury before day off or 1 hour 30 minutes before training – £10,000
12. Late for medical appointments – £2,500
In the moments before the miss, both Willian and Jorginho had words with the midfielder about who should take the penalty. Tensions could have boiled over. But within minutes of the final whistle, Lampard had turned down the heat.
Barkley, he explained, was – and is – the designated taker. End of discussion. That was the party line. Until 10 days later, when it wasn’t.
Then the Chelsea boss revealed Jorginho had taken the reins.
What, if anything, had changed in the intervening period Lampard didn’t explain. What was really said behind closed doors following that Valencia defeat was never divulged.
But it proved a master stroke: a potential rupture in his squad, which could have rumbled on, had instead been defused – and then solved – with minimal fuss.
Two weeks later, ahead of their clash with Lille, Barkley was again in the headlines. This time it was over his run-in with a Liverpool cabbie.
The midfielder travelled with the squad, with Lampard insisting that, while he’d been naive, Barkley had broken no club rules. Again, this time on the eve of a crucial clash, Lampard had kept a lid on the issue. This time, he waited until an hour before kick-off before making his point properly. Barkley was left out of the match day squad.
Had Willian not scored a late winner, questions may have been asked. But he did, so they weren’t and the world moved on. Sometimes you make your own luck.
This has proved a common thread in Chelsea’s season.
Lampard’s list of fines illustrate just how seriously he takes discipline within his squad. But unlike predecessors including Maurizio Sarri and Jose Mourinho, this Chelsea boss appears to have no interest in picking fights with his players. In public at least.
After a discussion over who should take a penalty, Lampard did not turn it into a problem
It has become clear how seriously Lampard takes discipline within his Chelsea squad
So far his loyalty is being repaid. Players are performing and then queueing up to sing his praises.
Referees, fourth officials and Didier Deschamps can all expect an earful. But so far, Lampard has stuck by his squad. That’s easier to do when you’re winning, of course, but his short tenure has not been without its bumps. He has had to relegate senior players such as Olivier Giroud and done so with minimal disruption.
He has also had to deal with the circus surrounding Christian Pulisic.
He did a very good job of dealing with the circus surrounding American Christian Pulisic
The American was the only new face to join his squad this summer but throughout his slow start to life in England, Lampard’s message was clear: those creating that outside noise need to ‘calm down’. The player knows he has to work hard in training and ‘show within the group that he deserves to play’.
There were grumblings that Lampard simply didn’t fancy Pulisic. But he has been true to his word: after Pulisic began to influence games off the bench, he earned his chance to start and has since taken it.
It is the development of Fikayo Tomori, though, that told us most about how Lampard works.
Lampard admitted that the centre back has become a ‘project’ of his. They have risen together since their days at Derby and Lampard has used Tomori as an example for the rest of his squad.
The development of Fikayo Tomori has told us the most about how Lampard works
‘I thought he deserved his opportunity for his training,’ Lampard said last month. ‘That is a great message to all the players: how you train will relate to whether you get picked. Those are the rules here.’
They are not the only rules, as we now know. But that doesn’t mean life at Chelsea can’t be fun. Quite the opposite.
At times over recent years the club has been plagued by an unhealthy cocktail of player-power, miserable managers and boring football.
Callum Hudson-Odoi wanted to leave Chelsea during Sarri’s reign. Now he’s committed his future to a club where the ‘vibe’ is more positive and the players are ‘happy’ once more.
Callum Hudson-Odoi wanted to leave Chelsea during Sarri’s reign but he is now happy to stay
The boring drills and dull football that defined the previous regime are no more. Training is believed to be tough, but fun and varied. Lampard lets the likes of Jody Morris take the lead, with Lampard happy to take backseat before offering young players specific advice.
Lampard is happy to join in training, too, and on the pitch his players are playing with a smile.
Crucially, the squad respect Lampard. The young players appreciate the chance he has given them after years of watching on from the outside. And the senior players know what he has given to this club.
On his first day, it’s claimed he spoke to every one of the club’s staff, laying out his vision for the future and assuring them his door will always be open. He also reportedly spoke to the academy early in the season to ensure they felt part of his revolution, too. Why wouldn’t they, given what he has done for young players already?
Training is believed to be tough, but fun and varied under Lampard and his coaching staff
But unlike his counterpart at Manchester United, the Chelsea boss does not overdo the nostalgia. He understands football has changed and that yearning for how things were will not work with modern players. Comparing eras is a futile exercise.
Instead, he knows modern players need to be treated differently. After Barkley’s spilled chips, Lampard spoke at length about the pressures his young crop face thanks to social media and the 24-hour news cycle. He discussed the importance of players having a strong family – both at home and at the club.
Lampard can only influence them during a few hours of the day. Even then, he needs help. The Chelsea boss knows he cannot be a ‘dictator’.
He relies heavily on his backroom staff and also the senior players in his squad. After the recent draw with Ajax, Lampard again reserved special praise for the likes of Jorginho, Willian, Cesar Azpilicueta and Mateo Kovacic.
The Chelsea manager relies heavily on his backroom staff and the senior players in his squad
His young stars are the one stealing the headlines but the older heads are the ones who ‘set the tone’. It’s Lampard who sets the rules, though. And he who sets the challenges.
His faith in Tomori, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Co has been rewarded. They are now in the England senior set up but their Chelsea manager won’t let them settle.
He will not overburden them with fickle talk of titles or even long-term targets. At least not publicly. As with Pulisic, the focus is on each and every day.
Maintain your standards in training, and in matches, and everything else will fall into place.
Fall foul of them, and you will pay for it. Sometimes literally.