Guardiola sees similarities between his start at Barcelona and Lampard's at Chelsea

The Manchester City boss was full of praise for his Premier League colleague ahead of a crucial showdown against the Blues this weekend

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola has acknowledged the similarities between his early days at Barcelona and the bright start Frank Lampard has made to his reign at Chelsea.

Lampard left Derby County to inherit the managerial reigns at Stamford Bridge at the start of July, succeeding Maurizio Sarri in the hot seat after his move to Juventus.

The Blues legend had to make do with the squad at his disposal due to a FIFA-imposed transfer ban over the summer, welcoming back Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount from loan spells while promoting several other academy stars into the senior fold.

Chelsea failed to hit the ground running at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, picking up just two wins from their first six Premier League fixtures, but their fortunes have improved considerably since the end of September.

Lampard's men have won their nine of their last 11 matches across all competitions, including five on the bounce in the league, to rise to third in the top-flight standings.

Chelsea have the opportunity to open up a four-point gap between themselves and reigning champions Manchester City in fourth when they travel to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday night .

Comparisons have been drawn between Lampard's early success at the Bridge and Guardiola's at Barcelona back in 2008, where the Spaniard moulded a team widely regarded as one of the best in history.

Guardiola addressed those similarities at a press conference on Friday, insisting his opposite number is well placed to enjoy the same kind of success at Chelsea.

"It is quite similar, but is too early," he began. "He [Lampard] has been a manager for a year-and-a-half and I am a little longer because I am a little older but he has his future in his hands. Experience doesn’t count much.

"I would say that when you know the club it is a good advantage and Lampard knows Chelsea perfectly - media, fans, players - that is good. When I arrived [at Barca] not many people trusted me. Few, few people. Maybe the president, sporting director and not many.

"Frank was similar at Derby. He didn’t take results and people said he didn’t have experience. When nobody trusts you it is perfect because you win every game - you cannot lose more. The problem is when you have won titles and nothing is enough."

Guardiola added: "In Frank's case, it is perfect, an ideal situation. At the big clubs, you have incredible players so it is easier to do a good job in Chelsea or Barcelona than another club.

"If you work a lot and have patience, the results and success can come."

After welcoming Chelsea to the Etihad, City will turn their attention to another home clash against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday, where a draw will be enough to book their spot in the last 16.

The Blues will also be back in European action the following night, as they travel to the Mestalla to face Valencia, with both clubs still vying for top spot in Group H alongside Ajax.