Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has dismissed a suggestion from Manchester United legend Roy Keane that he avoids criticism in his job because he is English.
The Blues currently sit in fourth position on the Premier League table – five points clear of the fifth-placed Red Devils – but have suffered one more defeat than the Old Trafford club.
Speaking to Sky Sports after Chelsea’s 1-0 loss to Newcastle United on Saturday, Keane believes Lampard is escaping scrutiny – compared to Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – because of his English nationality.
“I watched Chelsea last night, decent team, they couldn’t get the job done,” Keane said.
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“They’ve lost eight games but for some reason Frank’s doing alright, maybe ’cause he’s English, I don’t know.”
Lampard praised Keane for the passion in his punditry but insisted he isn’t treated differently as a manager because of his birth country.
The former Blues skipper went on to say that his nationality has actually meant he has received extra scrutiny before his appointment and during his time at Stamford Bridge,
“[That comment] was the moment my ears pricked up because I don’t think being English gives you any sort of a bye from criticism,” Lampard said prior to Chelsea hosting Arsenal on Tuesday.
“In fact, I heard quite a lot when I first got this job of [people] writing me off because I’m young and English and only had a year at Derby.
“Fair play to Roy, I love watching him talk about football because of how passionate and to the point he is, but I don’t think I’ve had any byes for being English and sometimes it feels slightly different.
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“I don’t need to name names. But certain people were saying you shouldn’t give him the job. Give it to people who have got experience of doing well in Italy or somewhere else or whatever. I don’t even know where to go with it. We were just all aware there would be those sorts of feeling.
“I don’t feel isolated [as an English manager in the Premier League]. A manager that comes from another country will get praise or criticism. A manager that is English and home-grown will get praise or criticism at different points of their career. That is why I try not to get drawn on it. What I wouldn’t say is that I only get praise because I am English – I think every manager gets the same.”
The Blues will be hoping to nab three points off the Gunners to extend their advantage over Man Utd to eight points, with the Red Devils hosting Burnley on Thursday.