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Zenit defender Ivanovic excited Lampard in charge of Chelsea: He deserves it

Zenit St Petersburg defender Branislav Ivanovic is backing Chelsea to enjoy a successful campaign this season.

While Chelsea fell at Manchester United on Sunday, Ivanovic is excited by the changes he's seen from his former club over the summer.

The Serb is particularly happy seeing former teammate Frank Lampard now in charge of the Blues.

He told Sport-Express: "I always had reasons to cheer for Chelsea. And now another one has appeared - Frank Lampard has returned to the team, and all Chelsea fans expect a lot from him. Frank has a difficult situation, but I believe he can handle it.

"He deserved it. Coaching is different from the work of a football player, but he showed that he deserves it."

Now 35, Ivanovic won three league titles with Chelsea over the nine years he was with the club. The defender also won the Champions League alongside Lampard and a Europa League final.

Ivanovic knows there's doubts about Lampard due to his lack of experience, but insists his character and ability as a player will translate well into the dugout. He admits he's followed his former teammate's career since he entered management with Derby County.

He continued, "Last season, Frank led Derby County to the playoff finals for reaching the Premier League, which is not easy. Of course, Lampard has assistants whom he trusts. A working system has already been built.

"Yes, he is a young coach, but I think that age is not important. There are no young and old, only good and bad. This is a big step in Frank's career."

Ivanovic left Chelsea two years ago for Zenit, where he helped the club win the Russian Premier League title last season.

- updated August 12

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Paul Vegas

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