Chelsea favourite Joe Cole has praised the work being done by head coach Frank Lampard at Stamford Bridge, ahead of the Premier League's long awaited return.
The Blues return to action on 21 June with a trip to relegation threatened Aston Villa, with Champions League qualification and potential FA Cup success back on the club's agenda after a three-month hiatus from action caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
Lampard's in his first season in charge at Chelsea - having replaced Maurizio Sarri as head coach last summer - and the club legend has settled into the role quickly despite having just a year's management experience under his belt, with Championship outfit Derby County.
Speaking exclusively to 90min, BT Sport pundit Cole was quick to praise not only Lampard for the work he's done so far, but also the club for taking what many perceived to be a gamble on him in the first place.
Cole said: "The future's looking bright, you know, credit to the club for appointing Frank at the start of the season. It was a bold decision and credit to Frank, I think he's been unbelievable, his staff as well.
"He's brought his staff in, people he can trust, people who do their job very well. He's really steadied the ship, you know, a great job right from the academy, the club's really pulling in the right direction and the names they are linked with I think are bang on.
"I think they're the right type of players for Chelsea, so the club in that sense I think is in a strong, strong position and, you know, a lot of people have to share out the credit for that, but I think mainly you've got to look at Frank coming in. I think he's took it in his stride and he looks like he's going to be a top, top manager."
Chelsea are currently in a position of strength heading into the final nine games of the season, sitting fourth in the table - three points ahead of fifth place Manchester United. Finishing the season there would be enough to earn Champions League qualification once more, and Manchester City's proposed two-year ban from the competition could make things easier in terms of securing passage to Europe's premier club competition.
Cole is of the opinion that Chelsea will get the job done, pointing to Leicester as the side who could feel the pressure most between now and the end of the season.
"I'm going to stick with the four teams that are there, but I think Man Utd will push all the way," Cole said.
"I don't think Chelsea will fall, Frank will have enough, I think Leicester could fall because of their lack of experience, you know, as a club at the top, top echelons, I know they won the league a few years ago.
"But I still think they will stay in, but I think if you're going to ask if any of the teams would fall out, I think possibly it could be Leicester. I think Chelsea will be fine, I think Frank will be fine."
The Premier League returns to BT Sport on Saturday 20th June with Watford v Leicester City and BT’s first televised 3pm fixture, Brighton v Arsenal. Watch all 20 BT Sport Premier League games contract free with the BT Sport Monthly pass, just £25 per month.