Neither Frank Lampard nor Dean Smith have been in charge of their clubs for a particularly long time.
Lampard inherited a Derby team in the summer that had just lost in the play-offs, whereas Smith inherited a struggling Aston Villa team in October.
Both men have different challenges ahead of them, so let’s compare these two managers…
Lampard became manager of Derby in May this year with no previous managerial experience. It was seen as a risk by the club, but with a team that were highly competitive in the Championship last season, it was one that they could afford to take.
Since taking over, Lampard has guided The Rams to fifth in the Championship at this moment in time, only two points behind leaders Leeds. Furthermore, he had a decent run in the League Cup, even beating Man United at Old Trafford.
Another benefit of having the Chelsea legend at Derby is his links with his former club. That has allowed players like Mason Mount to join on loan, who has simply been a revelation.
Lampard still remains an unknown quantity in the managerial world and no one knows what is to come, but he has started extremely well.
TT Grade: B+
When Smith became manager of Aston Villa in October, he had a huge task on his hands. He was manager of high-flying Brentford at the time, so in some ways this was a step down for him to take over a team floundering in mid-table. However, as a boyhood Villa fan, this was the move that he wanted.
It’s hard to judge Smith’s tenure at Villa so far, as he has only been in charge for a handful of games, but he can be evaluated on his previous jobs.
At Brentford, Smith developed a team that were widely regarded as one of the most attractive teams to watch in the Championship. He never achieved a huge amount of success with them, but relative to the shoestring budget he had, it was a team that punched well above their weight.
It is for that reason why his time at Villa looks promising, as he will be provided resources that would not have seemed imaginable with The Bees.
TT Grade: A
Ultimately, the deciding factor between these two very good managers is the experience of Smith. While Lampard may go on to prove that he is a successful manager, he hasn’t yet.
While Smith hasn’t equally got the recognition or plaudits he deserves, he is renowned for playing good football, and that is why he wins this battle.