Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has hailed the influence of Carlo Ancelotti on his career ahead of their Premier League reunion on Saturday.
Ancelotti, now in charge of Everton, guided Chelsea to the Premier League and FA Cup double in the 2009-10 season with Lampard one of the mainstays of his midfield. And he was quick to praise the veteran Italian coach going into the match at Goodison Park.
"I was heavily influenced by him as a player and a man. He's right at the top of managers I worked with," Lampard said. "He's had huge success at various clubs. He was a great coach, a great man and I look forward to seeing him."
Everton, beaten 4-0 by Lampard's side in their last meeting, made a solid start to the current season and led the table before a dip in form saw them slide to ninth place with 17 points from 11 games, six places and five points behind Chelsea.
"The Premier League is unforgiving. They've had injuries. It doesn't change my thoughts on how to approach playing them," Lampard, whose side are also through to the Champions League last-16, said. "We're happy where we are but there's a long way to go. Words aren't important at this point.
"It was important for us to win our Champions league group and put that away until the new year. Our next four games show how challenging it is. It's important to focus and understand. We can't drop our standards."
Lampard added that Chelsea will be without injured wingers Hakim Ziyech (hamstring) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (thigh) for at least two weeks.
Lampard has admitted that trying to maximise Christian Pulisic's impact at the club remains a "work in progress".
Pulisic will be fit for Saturday, having shaken off his latest hamstring twinge earlier this week. The United States forward has avoided any injury in a clear relief to both player and manager at Stamford Bridge.
But Pulisic has suffered a clutch of hamstring issues, and Lampard admitted he, the player and the club are still working hard to find the right balance of work and rest to help the 22-year-old thrive in west London.
Player ratings: Chelsea 3 Leeds 1
"Christian Pulisic had a tiny bit of awareness off the back of the Leeds game on one of his hamstrings, but he's training normally," said Lampard.
"Christian is a work in progress. I don't want to call this an injury he had in midweek. If the game had been a different type of game then maybe I would have used him.
"We know his abilities, that's very clear, he showed them when he came on against Leeds last week.
"I just have to find the right way to get the best out of him regularly and consistently."
Chelsea sit third in the Premier League ahead of the weekend's fixtures, having composed a nine-match unbeaten run since their sole defeat of the campaign, the 2-0 home loss to Liverpool. They defeated Leeds 3-1 at Stamford Bridge last weekend
After a flying start to the new campaign, Everton have lost four of their last six games and drew 1-1 with Burnley in their last match.