FRANK LAMPARD has spoken out about his failed 18-month spell as Chelsea manager for the first time, refusing to hit out at Roman Abramovich for sacking him.
The Blues legend, 42, was sacked by the Russian owner in January with the club down in ninth in the Premier League.
The decision was widely questioned by Chelsea fans who believed Lampard just needed more time to implement his philosophy.
But Abramovich and the rest of the Stamford Bridge board decided to pull the plug and installed Thomas Tuchel – who was himself sacked by Paris Saint-Germain a month earlier – as boss.
Despite the slightly bitter exit, Lampard has chosen to look back on his brief stint as Chelsea chief fondly.
Speaking for the first time in a in the exclusive Q&A in aid of the Willow Foundation, Lampard revealed: "I'm absolutely appreciative of the opportunity I had to manage Chelsea.
"It was an incredible time. Everyone knows how I felt about the club."
Despite sacking Lampard, Abramovich released a rare public statement admitting it was a tough decision.
The Russian said: "This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him.
“He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics.
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"However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.
"He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished.
"He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
During his Q&A, Lampard later confessed he had already received 'several' approaches from other clubs to jump straight back into management, rejecting them all.
The ex-Derby boss said: "Football has consumed my life, firstly as a player and then as a manager.
"Nobody wants to lose their job. But when you go into this career, it can happen, no matter how good you think you are.
"It's given me a lot more time to be at home. It's been great to be around the family.
"I've had some opportunities that have come up in the last six weeks, two months, that have been flattering, but not the right thing.
"They were not quite right."
But Lampard did admit he is keen to get back into coaching in the not-too-distant future.
He added: "It would be something I'm very keen to do in the right time and place. My eyes are always on it.
"I'm always watching football and trying to get better. I'll try and find the right time and right opportunity.
"I'm very keen to get working again.
"How much it consumes you when you're in it is a big deal.
"You cannot take away your love of the game. I like to keep involved."
Lampard has already been linked with taking over from Aidy Boothroyd as England Under-21s boss following their disastrous Euros campaign last month.
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