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Zola unhappy with late Chelsea departure after Lampard arrival

01:47 GMT+3 05/07/2019
Gianfranco Zola
The Italian has been overlooked for a place in the Blues legend's backroom staff and admits he faces a tough challenge to find work now

Outgoing Chelsea assistant Gianfranco Zola has admitted he was disappointed with the timing of his departure, as former team-mate Frank Lampard takes charge at Stamford Bridge. 

Lampard was confirmed as Maurizio Sarri's successor on Thursday after a single year at the helm of Derby County in the Championship. 

And in his presentation the former England international confirmed that Zola would not form part of his staff, trusting instead in Jody Morris and Chris Jones to assist him for the coming season. 

Zola had returned to west London under Sarri and now must look for new employment, a task he confesses has not been made easier by the delay in revealing his departure. 

“I found out quite late and the manager positions of the other teams have all been sorted out," the Italian explained to the Sun on Thursday.

“Regardless, it is a minor thing for me. It was important that it helped my career. Working for a top club with a top coach has been good for me.

“I was head coach before and my main ambition is to return to that. But to work for Maurizio and Chelsea was a great opportunity.”

Despite that, Zola insists that there is no bad blood between him and the Blues and that he wishes them and Lampard all the best for the future.

“It has been a great year, there is no doubting that," he added.

“Unfortunately, it was not to be. What matters is it was a great year and I have been part of a winning team.

“I want to take the opportunity to say thank you very much to the players, all the coaching staff and all the supporters and the club for the wonderful year we have had.

“Chelsea is in my heart and I was so proud to achieve so much for the club.

“The most important thing is I want to get on with my future.

“I would like to stay in England. I will have to wait and see what happens now.”

A legend at Stamford Bridge during his playing days, Zola has fared rather less impressively since making the move to the bench. 

Having began his coaching career with Italy Under-21s the Sardinia has taken in spells with West Ham, Watford, Al-Arabi and Birmingham City, while he is still waiting for his first silverware as head coach following those trophy-laden days with the Blues, although he did lift the Europa League as Sarri's number two.