It’s taken the Spurs manager a little bit of time to get his team into shape but there is far more organisation in his side than Lampard’s.
For a shortcut to understanding how the wealth disparity in elite-level football has fundamentally re-shaped the priorities of boardrooms, take a look at the latest fashion at the top.
From Andrea Pirlo to Xavi, the super clubs have taken to approaching inexperienced former players rather than tacticians, picking celebrities and scoring easy PR wins rather than investing in an idea.
It is a natural consequence of insularity at the top; a consequence of the monopolisation of Europe’s biggest leagues. Too big to truly fail, owners are impatiently living for the mini-bumps rather than building something that lasts.
And what is most surprising about this trend is that it runs in direct contrast to what the era of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, of Julian Nagelsmann and Antonio Conte, ought to teach us.
Over the past five years, the world’s best teams have been defined by the microscopic details of their game plans; by automations, the tactical stitching that is burned into muscle memory through repeating set moves in training. The supposed attacking improvisation at Anfield, for example, is a mirage; machine-like repetition masquerading as free thought.
This new age is passing both Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho by, albeit for different reasons.
The Chelsea manager was hired against the backdrop of the new vogue for club legends as quick fixes, while the Tottenham head coach represents the era that proceeded Guardiola and Klopp: intricately detailed defensive tactics mixed with free-form counterattacks.
The two managers asymmetrically book-end the German/Spanish mini era, but they are far from equal.
Judging by last season, Mourinho will best Lampard in the race for Champions League football.
Lampard the manager is just like Lampard the player: ever pushing forward, without a care in the world for the organisation of those behind him.
Chelsea are stockpiling some of the best young attackers in European football and yet personnel alone cannot fix systemic failures of the sort that have plagued this team since the very beginning of the 2019-20 campaign.
The Blues are unable to re-compress when they lose the ball, a direct consequence of Lampard’s lack of positional detail in formulating the structure of his side’s possession.
When they have the ball. they truly are free to create; free to invade space wherever they see it, which leaves them woefully stretched horizontally and vertically – and, therefore, open to being counterattacked.