Frank Lampard is not taking a coaching role at Chelsea because he wants to continue playing, boss Antonio Conte has said.
Chelsea trained at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday as they prepare to host Bournemouth on Boxing Day, and Lampard’s presence fuelled speculation that he could return to coach after leaving New York City FC in November.
But Conte said: “We didn’t talk about this [a coaching move for Lampard]. I think Frank wants to continue to play football.
“I saw him in good form, in good shape, to continue to play football. Then, for his future, I think it’s better to ask him.
“He’s a legend for this club and it’s fantastic when he comes to see the training sessions, to talk with us. I found him in good form.”
Chelsea confirmed on Wednesday that assistant coach Steve Holland would leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season to take up a full-time role under new permanent England manager Gareth Southgate.
But the club said they were not looking to find a replacement for the 46-year-old.
“It’s a pity to lose him,” Conte said. “But also, I can understand his choice.
“This type of situation can arrive only once in the life, to be a coach or assistant coach of your national team and your country. For this reason, I understand him.
“It’s a pity because I’ve worked very well with him. For the future, it’s important to be focused on the present and work with this staff. I have a great staff, a fantastic staff. In the future, we’ll see.”
Conte will face Eddie Howe, one of English football’s most highly regarded young coaches, on Boxing Day and said he had been impressed with the 39-year-old’s achievements.
“Eddie Howe is a really good manager,” he added. “He’s very young and doing really well with Bournemouth.
“I’m studying them and seeing a good team with good organisation on tactical and physical aspects.
“I like him and have great respect for him. I wish for him a good career, a top career. If he continues in this way, he can become a manager of a great team.”