Mel Morris

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Derby owner: ‘Frank and Chelsea need to have time’

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Derby County owner Mel Morris says the club has begun the search for a new manager under the assumption that Chelsea will reach an arrangement with current boss Frank Lampard, who it has excused from preseason training camp.

The Chelsea legend was instantly linked with the club opening when Maurizio Sarri left Stamford Bridge to begin life at Juventus.

[ MORE: 3 things from USMNT’s win ]

Morris told TalkSport.com that he figured Lampard’s time at Chelsea would be a short one, just not a single year.

“As we’ve said before, when Frank and I first met we discussed this very eventuality, the only difference is the timing of this,” Morris said. “My belief at this point in time is that Frank and Chelsea need to have the time to finalise the transaction between them.”

Morris has been frustrated with Chelsea’s hiring process, though he’s a little calmer now as the situation has become clearer.

“You could say they’ve had plenty of time, but in fairness Frank was away on vacation – and a well-deserved one after a pretty tough season – and he didn’t come back until Friday, so I think that has been a big factor.”

Chelsea’s love for Lampard and its understanding regarding the club’s transfer ban will give it an extra level of patience for the young manager, but the club’s usual lack of patience with management is notable.

Lampard will not have Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi on long-term injuries, and Eden Hazard has left the club. Christian Pulisic returns from loan while Mateo Kovacic‘s loan was made permanent.

Lampard: Derby ‘underdogs again, but we’re there’

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It’s a banner day for Derby County, who hopes there’s another to come for the Pride Park outfit.

Frank Lampard‘s Rams became the first club in Championship playoff history to lose the first leg at home and advance, topping Leeds United 4-2 on Wednesday for a 4-3 aggregate win and a date with Aston Villa in the final.

[ MORE: Match recap ]

And Derby owner Mel Morris has a lot of love for Lampard’s efforts following the Rams’ earning their first playoff final berth since 2014. From the BBC:

“What a night. If we were going to do it, that is the way to do it. I was more nervous when we had a goal lead than I was before the game when I was quite calm. But towards the end I was on the edge. This is Frank’s first season as manager and no one has done this before. What an achievement.”

As for the man himself, Lampard is buzzing and claimed the team was better over both legs of a glorious win. From Sky Sports:

“We were 1-0 down, I said to the lads everyone had written us off. It’s 1/8 for them to go through or something, everyone says they’ve beaten us three times, but we made a little tweak, and it worked brilliantly but you need bravery on the ball and the lads showed it.

“There’s work to do, this isn’t the end, we’re underdogs again and we’ll have a tough game against a brilliant Villa team, but we’re there.”

Derby and Aston Villa is a match-up of historic English clubs, and the subplots are plenty. It’s difficult to bet against either side given their seasons.