LONDON – After reaching the top of the mountain while playing for two of England's biggest clubs, Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now try to lead them back to the pinnacle from the dugout.
Lampard takes over as Chelsea manager this season while Solskjaer begins his first full campaign in charge of Manchester United.
As fate would have it, the two square off to open the season Sunday at Old Trafford.
Lampard steps into one of the hottest seats in English football.
He's the 12th different manager hired since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003 and could be the Russian's biggest gamble yet.
That's because he has just one season of managerial experience, that coming at Derby County in 2018/19.
"In one year as a manager, a job like Chelsea doesn't come around very often," Lampard said when hired last month.
"People will question my experience, but I am ready for that.
"What will define me is my work ethic and what I put into it to try to bring success."
Lampard is Chelsea's record goal-scorer and helped the club win four league titles along with the Champions League and Europa League.
That makes him a fan favourite, something his predecessor Maurizio Sarri wasn't able to become despite despite winning the Europa League last season.
Lampard's legendary status should buy him some time and he may need it with the Blues serving a two-year FIFA transfer ban and having also sold star midfielder Eden Hazard to Real Madrid this summer.
"I am not naive," he said. "I understand fans want success.
"I don't see this as a risk, I am not fearful of the downsides."
Up in Manchester, Solskjaer will be under a bit more pressure.
The former United striker, who came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner in the 1999 Champions League final, was hired as caretaker boss when Jose Mourinho was fired last December.
The Norwegian made an immediate impact by losing just one of his first 17 matches, paving the way for his permanent hiring in March.
But United faltered down the stretch and finished sixth in the league, putting some heat on him heading into the new campaign.
"I don't care about the outside pressure and I do very well without it but internally at the club we have requirements, we have standards, but I think that I am the one who demands the most from myself and my players," Solskjaer told the Manchester Evening News.
"You have to cope with both hardship if you are to survive in this club."
United have gone six seasons since their last title in Alex Ferguson's final campaign in 2013.
Since then their only top-three finish was as runners-up to Manchester City in 2018, albeit a whopping 19 points behind.
Solskjaer knows ending the barren run won't be easy.
"That's how football is now, you can never rest on any laurels," he told Norway's TV2.
"Not that I think the club has done it, but it goes on for periods, up and down.
"We have had a tough period after Sir Alex, but we know the Premier League is a different competition now than when I played.
"There are five or six teams that rightly think that they should fight for the trophy, so it is a completely different competition."dpa