FRANK LAMPARD is happy to shower his players with praise to forge a water-tight bond — just as Jose Mourinho famously did with him.
But the Blues boss draws the line at playing computer games with his squad to win their affection.
Mourinho once told a starkers Lampard fresh from the shower that he was the best player in the world.
It gave the young midfielder a huge confidence boost and under the Special One’s management he did indeed become one of the planet’s top stars.
The naked truth now is Lamps, who comes up, close and personal with his mentor again today, would love to have as close and enduring a relationship with his current Blues charges.
Lampard said: “Jose was the first manager day to day 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 are starting their journeys, their careers, and need to look up to me and the staff. I love all the young boys here. They’re good lads, really good players.
“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.”
Asked if he also had to keep a distance between his players too as manager, Lampard replied: “That’s the line you have to get right. I’d love to think I do. You’ll have to ask the players.
"I’m not hanging about with them playing PlayStation and stuff. I do draw the line somewhere!”
Mourinho’s shower scene came during the Portuguese’s first season in England with Chelsea in 2004.
Along with telling Lampard he was the best player in the world, Mourinho also challenged the midfielder to prove it by winning titles.
Lamps said in his autobiography that the strange scenario made him feel vulnerable which is understandable, given how literally exposed he was.
MOURINHO THE MOTIVATOR
But it also had the England star “walking on air for the rest of the day” and prompted him to hit 19 goals that season which helped land the Blues their first Premier League crown.
The 2012 Champions League winner recalled: “It felt instinctive. You’d have to ask him if it was planned. It made me feel great.
“It’s very easy as you get older to not jump back into a 23-year-old’s head and understand what things like that will make them feel.
“It doesn’t have to be necessarily, ‘You’re the best player in the world’, but positive talking about where they can get to with an underlying edge of how they work every day.
“When Jose said that to me, it wasn’t like, ‘Go on and do stepovers all day’, it was about drive, drive and drive to try and be that, and to win titles.
“It was a really well-put message. I’d try and do that with my players.”
Mourinho, now in charge of rivals Tottenham, seems to be having the same effect on Dele Alli.
The England ace looks to have shaken off his 2019 funk and already has four goals in six games for his new boss.
LAMPS HAILS TOMORI
Alli, 23, is likely to be a key threat this afternoon to the Chelsea defence, which could include fellow Three Lions star Fikayo Tomori.
The centre-back has not featured in the last two defeats to Bournemouth and Everton but did recently sign a new five-year deal.
The fresh contract marked an amazing 18 months for the 22-year-old, having joined Championship side Derby on loan last term without much fanfare.
Lampard, who managed him at the Rams, added: “It’s great the young players are, one by one, signing new deals.
“Fikayo is possibly my favourite example of that. At Derby, at first, he didn’t have the buzz that Mason and Tammy had. He’s worked to get to this position.
"He’s gone under the radar, but maybe defenders do. My dad told me not to be a left-back!”
Many will see the era of Chelsea being one of the biggest clubs both in England and Europe was sparked by Mourinho’s arrival 15 years ago.
Asked if he felt the Blues would not be at their current stature were it not for the Special One, Lampard replied: “It’s hard to say for sure.
“It wouldn’t exist without Roman Abramovich, for sure. Mourinho played a big part. He’s been successful twice here. Who knows, though?”
LIKELY LINE-UPS — SPURS: Gazzaniga; Aurier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Dier; Moura, Dele, Son; Kane.
CHELSEA: Kepa; James, Rudiger, Zouma, Emerson; Kovacic, Kante, Jorginho; Mount, Abraham, Willian.