West Brom manager Slaven Bilic paid tribute to opposite number Frank Lampard as his side prepare to face Chelsea on Saturday.
The Baggies have lost their first two matches, to Leicester and Everton, in a difficult start to the Premier League season and will be looking to bounce back against this summer’s top spenders.
Lampard is a familiar face to Bilic, with the two having played together for a brief period at West Ham when the now Chelsea boss was breaking through into the team.
And Bilic was full of praise for his former team-mate’s character.
The Baggies manager said: “Frank has that determination to give everything, to try everything and to work really hard, and he carries that from his father who was first of all that kind of a player and that kind of a man; very serious, Frank Senior.
“And Frank, from the beginning you could see that he had a plan. He knew ‘I want to go there, I want to go there’ and the sky was the limit.
“I remember him and I mentioned his name more than probably any other player when I was talking in my career to the players – in Russia, in Croatia, in Turkey, in England – how if you have a talent, how much you can do if you have that working rate on a daily basis, because that is exactly what he was doing at West Ham.
“He was a young player that was talented and he also worked really hard. But at that stage he also had a bit of pressure on his back because his father was assistant manager, so I think that helped him a lot to cope with a bit of negativity that was always around.
“Like ‘you are there because you are protected, you are privileged because your father is pushing you’, which obviously wasn’t the case because he became one of the best. Not one of the best midfielders but one of the best players in the world.”
Chelsea have spent over £200million on seven major signings in this summer’s transfer window and Bilic has backed Lampard to find success with the London club.
“The talent that Frank and the club have brought into Chelsea, it’s great and it gives their fans and their players and everybody the confidence that they can again become title contenders,” said the Croatian.
“They weren’t last season because obviously they didn’t spend enough money to strengthen their squad.
“Nowadays you see in every transfer that the big ones – but not only the big ones – every team from the Premiership is trying to improve, is trying to get more players, to get more quality on the pitch, so they’ve done it.
“For me it’s only the start of the season and it’s a matter of how quick they are going to gel. But they are top players and with Frank I think it will not take them a long time to gel.”
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