Frank Lampard has thanked the Chelsea fans who created a Stamford Bridge banner throwing their support behind his managerial reign in west London.
Fans group We Are The Shed created a banner reading “In Frank we trust. Then. Now. Forever,” that was displayed for the first time in Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Luton.
Tammy Abraham’s hat-trick helped Chelsea ease into the fifth round with a 3-1 win, though Timo Werner missed a late penalty.
Lampard has come under intense pressure after five losses in eight Premier League encounters, but this influential group of Chelsea fans have made their feelings clear on their staunch support for the ex-Blues midfielder.
And the 42-year-old boss has revealed his gratitude in knowing that fans are behind him, especially given the empty stadium means supporters cannot voice their feelings through match day chants.
“I knew about the banner maybe a week or two ago, directly from those who put it together, who are obviously massive supporters of this club; and I was very appreciative,” said Lampard.
“I don’t know if emotional was the word, but people who know about how I feel about this club will understand, it’s a two-way thing from the first time I came here, maybe 20 years ago nearly.
“So I’m very thankful for that support, and it’s great to see it at the Bridge. I feel it very strongly indeed.
“I know the modern world has moved on with social media there are eyes all over the world.
“But one thing I know is that when I’m at the Bridge, the fans have shown me huge support as a player, and now as manager here as well. So I appreciate it very much.
“All I want to do is repay that with being successful at the club, and working through a tough moment to bring a long-term success to the club.
“I keep saying recently there will be moments of pain, and moments that are difficult, because of the situation.
“And when you see the fans that are there to stick with you from now, and going forward, that’s an important thing for me.”
Scotland Under-21 star Billy Gilmour started at the base of midfield and excelled alongside Mason Mount, who was playing in a deeper role and also captained the Blues for the first time.
Lampard all-but ruled out Gilmour going out on loan in the wake of this showing, and admitted the former Rangers youth star can now push hard for regular first-team starts.
“Playing like he did today it will be very difficult to leave Billy out because he was outstanding,” said Lampard.
“His comfort on the ball, the way he moves it, his discipline, personality on the team.
“When he plays like he did today he makes it very difficult for me not to give him a run.
“He trains that way and with his youth and the injury he’s had and the difficult time we’ve had in the last month or so I think it’s been me trying to find the right time to get Billy in there. Today I felt it was the right time and he was brilliant.
“Let’s see going forward. In the short term for me, looking at him today, he won’t be going on loan. But let’s keep that open until the end of the month.
“But Billy is a Chelsea player and the levels he showed today, shows that he’s right to be a Chelsea player in the middle of the park.”
Luton boss Nathan Jones hailed his side’s resolve, with the Championship club netting a smart goal through Jordan Clark.
“It was a great test for us and I’m very proud of the game we gave Chelsea,” said Jones.
“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb in the first 20 minutes, but I will accept responsibility for that because I wanted us to be attacking in our shape and do more than just defend.
“Once we changed that shape I thought we were excellent.”