Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount says he has nothing but "praise and gratitude" for Frank Lampard following his sacking as manager.
As the Blues begin life under new boss Thomas Tuchel, Mount paid a warm tribute to Lampard, the man who took him on loan to Derby, handed him his Chelsea debut and made him captain for his final game in charge.
Some fans even branded Mount 'teacher's pet', such was the faith shown in the youngster by Lampard.
And Mount admitted: "He has been very important to me. He brought me to Derby, gave me the playing time and I learnt so much under him there before coming back to Chelsea and continued my learning.
"I have nothing but praise and gratitude for everything he's given me as a player on and off the pitch. I've definitely grown as a player as well so he obviously means a lot to me.
"It's a tough time for the club. I've been here for a very long time and seen managers depart from afar while being in the academy, but when you're in the first-team building and it happens, it's a different feeling.
"It's something us younger players haven't really experienced before but we speak to the likes of Azpi (Cesar Azpilicueta) and Petr Cech, who have been through it, and try to get any bit of experience from them on how to deal with it."
Nevertheless, Mount knows he and his team-mates must knuckle down under Tuchel if they are to get their season back on track.
"We have to put things to the back of our heads and look forward now,' the 22-year-old England international told the club website.
"As players, as a team and as a club, we have to stick together and hopefully get back to winning ways because that's what this club is all about.
"It's a difficult time but that's when the strong characters within the group come out and lead us in the right direction. We have to be strong because there are massive games coming up and we need to attack them."