Chelsea hero, Frank Lampard, took a break from having his injured calf massaged this week to talk about Jose Mourinho’s appointment at Manchester United and simultaneously throw shade at Arsenal.
The midfielder, who has only played in the MLS for New York City FC 11 times since joining in 2015 due to injury, believes that Arsenal don’t have the ‘grit’ to win big trophies. Is he right?
“We had Arjen Robben and Damien Duff flying down the wings,” the 37-year-old reminisced, while staring into the distance fondly, I imagine.
“We were accused of being boring but that was only because we won most weeks.
“But Jose is a man who knows how to get a win and sometimes that isn’t always with fluent football.
“I don’t think United played great football last year from watching them.
“He will bring an energy to the team, will be effective and win games.
“Fans want to win and of course they want great style.”
He continued, “You can talk all day about style and everyone wants beautiful football but winning is what it’s all about.
“And Mourinho has a history of winning things.
“Look at Arsenal, everyone says they’re great on the ball yet they’ve not won anything because they don’t have the grit to grind games out.
“To be a complete team and be successful over a period of time you have to be able to do both sides of the game.
“Defend, first and foremost, be organised and battle. And then play good football and score goals. That is a complete team.
“For me, I have known Jose Mourinho close up, he wants his team to be complete. He doesn’t tell his players to be negative, he just wants to win games.
“Sometimes there isn’t always one way to win a game.”
Now, casting aside the fact that Frank says we’ve not won anything when we’ve won two FA Cups and let’s not forget that bear trophy, thank you very much, he actually has a point. Sure, he makes it in a clumsy way – the way you’d expect most ex-Chelsea men to speak about a former rival who mocked them relentlessly.
I used to think we had the ‘grit’ but we just had trouble tapping into it. Now, I don’t think we have it, plain and simple. Whether we’re too nice and polite on the pitch or just unable to hold onto a lead of grind out a result, we don’t have that winner’s mentality. And I hate that because that’s become somewhat of a buzzword that’s hung over our club for years. Just like mental strength. Neither of which, ironically, we seem to have at the moment.
Hopefully, it will arrive in the form of new signings this summer.