Frank Lampard hated scoring against Chelsea — but insists he will have no hesitation dumping them out of the Carabao Cup as a manager.
Chelsea are set to welcome back their record goal-scorer on Wednesday when Championship Derby visit in the last 16.
The 40-year-old former England midfielder is a legend at Stamford Bridge after making 648 appearances for Blues in 13 years before departing four years ago.
After joining from West Ham in 2001, he won every domestic, major European honour and is the club’s all-time leading scorer with 211. But it was the one goal he scored against Chelsea in September 2014 that drew attention.
In just his second game for Manchester City after leaving the west Londoners at the end of the previous season, he came on as a 78th minute sub at the Etihad and grabbed a late point on a day that made him feel awkward.
Lampard, whose Rams dispatched his old Blues boss Jose Mourinho's Manchester United on penalties in the previous round, said: “Going back to Chelsea is a big deal for me. However, I am not too conflicted on this one.
“There were mixed emotions previously and to go up against them and score was a difficult one for me. I was doing my job but at the same time, I loved Chelsea as a club and have a strong bond with the fans, which will hopefully never go.
“But as a manager I am going to enjoy the occasion and try to set my team out as well as I can.
“There won’t be a sadness if we win. I will be proud and honoured to be taking my team to a place I called home for 13 years and still feels like home. But this [Derby] is my working home now and I have a great affiliation with this club already.
“I will be professionally delighted if my team get anything like near a win, because it will be such a tough game.”
Lampard admits his affinity with Chelsea remains so strong, he may struggle to keep his emotions in check on the night.
He added: “I have got more emotional as I’ve got older. You realise what an important part Chelsea was in my life and what I owe for that in terms of thanks. Sometimes those moments can catch you.
“It is a special draw for me to go back and see people and 40,000-plus friends in the stadium.”