Derby County assistant manager Jody Morris can’t wait for the first day of pre-season as he and Frank Lampard look to build on the foundations that have been laid in recent years.
The former Chelsea midfielder joined Lampard’s backroom staff last week after two years in charge of the Blues’ Under-18s side, during which they won every available honour.
Morris can’t wait to get to work at the Training Centre when the first team return later this month, and he believes that he and his former teammate at Stamford Bridge have a solid base from which to start.
Speaking to RamsTV, he said: “I can’t wait! It’s frustrating at the moment, there are a lot of phone calls and trips up to Derby to sort little things out.
“It’s like you have the engine revving, but the handbrake is on.
“I love being amongst the players out on the grass so the first day of pre-season can’t come soon enough, and I know that Frank is the same.
“We want to put our own stamp on the team, the players and the way that we set up against the opposition in the Championship.
“The consistency of making the play-offs has been as good as anybody in recent years, so that’s a good foundation to build on.
“There will be changes, but we won’t come too far away from some of the things that have served this club well.”
Morris and Lampard spent two years together at Chelsea, whilst they were also teammates with the England Under-21s back in the 1990s.
The pair have remained friends ever since, even working together last season in West London as Lampard worked towards his coaching badges with the Chelsea Academy.
Morris’ teams at youth level have become renowned for their attacking quality and high-tempo football, and he says that Lampard shares his views on the way that the game should be played.
He explained: “It’s one of the reasons why we have always spoke about working together, because we see football the same way.
“We believe that it should be played attractively with a high intensity, with everybody working with humility, with no superstars in the team.
“We want to get after the ball and win it back as soon as possible, and we want to protect it and use it well.
“You don’t want to keep possession for no reason, you want to use the ball intelligently and hurt the opposition.”
On working together with Lampard last season, Morris added: “It was easy for me to bring in a legend of the club, because it’s good for him to be around the young players but also to get a little bit of work in together.
“He came in a lot last season and we both enjoyed it.
“We had conversations as players, we always spoke about football in general and we thought that if we ever got the opportunity, that we would like to work together, and here we are.”
Morris is well acquainted with the Sky Bet Championship, having made 75 appearances in the second tier for Rotherham United, Millwall and Bristol City, but he would prefer to forget his last visit to Pride Park Stadium.
He said: “I’d like to wipe my last playing memory of Pride Park as soon as possible with three points, because I tore my ACL there when I was at Millwall.
“It wasn’t a great experience but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to put that experience to the back of my mind as soon as possible.
“I had enough seasons in the Championship as a player to know that it’s exciting and anybody can beat anybody.
“That’s the beauty of it. You can line the teams up at the start of the season and it’s tough to pick out the ones that are going to do well.
“That’s a challenge that we are looking forward to, we know that it won’t be easy.”