Frank Lampard has saluted Jose Mourinho for turning ­Chelsea into winners — but says Roman Abramovich was always the big man at Stamford Bridge.

As the current Blues’ boss pits his wits in the dug-out on Sunday against his erstwhile mentor, memories flood back of the days when the player and his manager set about changing the landscape of English football.

Back-to-back title triumphs saw Chelsea emerge as a real force in the game – a legacy that exists to this day. A third, six seasons ago, cemented the legend.

And while Lampard gave full credit to his former boss, he said that bigger picture is that the modern-day club would not exist without the influence of Russian billionaire Abramovich – nor the achievements of a set of players, the core of which eventually became Champions League winners.

Asked whether Chelsea could have reached those heights without the presence of Mourinho, he said: “It’s hard to say.

“But, for sure, it wouldn’t exist without Roman Abramovich.

Lampard celebrates a Premier League title with Abramovich

“Jose played a big part. His ­imprint on the squad was huge. He took a very talented team who had come second, one that was bursting to win the title, and had a massive effect on it.

“As manager, he takes huge credit.

“But once he left, the legacy was up to the players. It was a strong group and we had different managers pushing that agenda.

“The credit for the longevity and how we won things afterwards goes down to the core of the squad we had at the time, and our will to win.”

Mourinho famously told Lampard that he was one of the best midfielders in the world while the former England international was in the shower.

Chelsea’s boss admitted that ‘it made me feel great’ and suggested that his managerial colleague can still ­relate to younger ­players.

Lampard and Mourinho will go head to head as managers on Sunday

Midfielder Dele Alli has benefited from that since Mourinho succeeded Mauricio Pochettino in the Spurs hot seat and Lampard said that his former boss still has the X-factor when it comes to motivating his players.

He said: “When Jose first came to Chelsea, he was the first one who made me feel very close to him, working on the mental side, giving me that confidence. You form a bond.

“Working with the younger players now, it’s my duty to forge that same bond with them. They’re starting their journeys, their careers, and need to look up to ­me and the staff.

“It’s a constant. How you are with them every day. How much you want to work with them on the training ground. How much you delve into their personal lives, and how they interact with you. That’s huge.

“You don’t lose it as you get older. Maybe it’s slightly easier for a young manager to be aware of issues such as social media.

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“But if you’ve got it personality-wise, you’ve got it.”

Lampard makes the trip to north London under the microscope following last weekend’s surprise 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth .

He said: “It’s always difficult. Spurs have incredible world-class talent and threats in their team. Jose is a top manager. A very difficult match.

“For us, it’s more the type of game that is the issue.

“We’ve not been able to break teams down or take our chances of late, and conceded the occasional goal and that’s cost us.

The Stamford Bridge boss added: “Spurs will be a different animal with their home crowd behind them.”