Frank Lampard has refused to indulge speculation he could become Chelsea's new manager following Derby County's Championship play-off final defeat to Aston Villa on Monday.

Blues legend Lampard has been heavily linked with a return to Stamford Bridge to replace Maurizio Sarri, who has been tipped for the Juventus job following Massimiliano Allegri's surprise departure.

Lampard, whose first season as a manager ended in disappointment with a 2-1 defeat to Villa at Wembley, would not be drawn on the speculation and says he will speak to Rams owner Mel Morris in the coming days about his future.

"I'm not interested in the speculation," he said. "I'll sit down with Mel Morris over the next few days. I've got a two-year contract and I love working here.

"After my first year and the opportunity this club gave me it's massively important that everyone understands that is my overriding feeling.

"So that's where I am. I'll go away tonight and have a couple of beers with the lads and the staff, and afterwards we'll talk about where we go forward."

Villa's win ends a three-year stay in the Championship and boss Dean Smith believes the club are now back in their rightful place.

"The potential for the football club is massive," he said. "I have been asked how it feels right now? I think it feels right. 

"It feels right that Aston Villa are in the Premier League. I think the history of the football club, the size of the football club, the fanbase it has, I believe it is a Premier League club. 

"It's not me speaking with a supporter's head on. It's just the history that tells you that.

"But, unfortunately, we have had some hard years as we've tried to get back into the Premier League. 

"The players and owners deserve what they are going to get. The potential with the owners that we have is massive."

Aston Villa will return to the Premier League after a three-year absence having beaten Derby County 2-1 in the Championship play-off final at Wembley on Monday.

Dean Smith's side took charge early on and managed to avoid failing in a second successive play-off final despite Derby's late rally, with the Rams' hapless defending giving Villa a helping hand in a match estimated to be worth £170million to the victors.

Villa looked the more threatening of the two sides for most of the first half and finally took the lead in the 44th minute, as Anwar El Ghazi directed a cross home from close range.

John McGinn punished a woeful Kelle Roos error just before the hour and that was ultimately enough to send Villa up, with Martyn Waghorn's 81st-minute strike too little, too late for Frank Lampard's side.

Villa made a promising start, with Axel Tuanzebe fluffing his lines a few yards out and Jack Grealish rifling just over in the early stages.

That momentum waned initially, before Tammy Abraham's effort in the 33rd minute that narrowly missed the top-right corner of the net seemed to inspire an improvement.

And Villa finally got their goal just before half-time, as El Ghazi got ahead of his marker to meet Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross, the ball finding the net via his back as he stooped for a header.

Quality was lacking at the start of the second half and goalkeeper Roos epitomised that with a dreadful error in the 59th minute, failing to collect what appeared to be a routine catch as McGinn beat him to it to head in.

Derby piled the pressure on towards the end and, after going close through Jayden Bogle and Mason Mount, Jack Marriott's left-footed strike from the centre of the box took a slight deflection into the bottom-left corner off Waghorn. 

But Villa held on to seal their return to the top flight.

Frank Lampard has an "aura" and will certainly return to Chelsea in the future, according to Derby County owner Mel Morris.

Former England star Lampard has thrived at Pride Park in his first senior managerial job since ending his glittering playing career.

The 40-year-old leads Derby in the final of the Championship play-offs on Monday, where they will face Aston Villa at Wembley for a place in next season's Premier League.

Lampard's efforts have seen him linked with the Chelsea job, with head coach Maurizio Sarri having failed to win over sections of the club's support and tipped to return to Italy with Juventus.

And Morris thinks it is only a matter of time until Lampard heads back to Stamford Bridge.

"Frank has brought the buzz back to the place," he told the Telegraph. "He has created a special environment. It wasn't about him being a celebrity, it was about somebody giving us excitement. He has an aura, like all great managers.

"One day he is going to be [back] at Chelsea, I am sure, because of the legend he was there. The longer he is here with success, the easier it is to go there without risk because Chelsea is a big club with massive expectations.

"I would always be pleased we gave him the opportunity, proud of what he has achieved with us, and if that happened sooner rather than later I would just hope it works out for him. There would be absolutely no ill feeling and we'd understand it's probably an opportunity he couldn't turn down."

Harry Wilson is another to be impressed by the Derby boss, the Liverpool loanee having enjoyed a fine season under Lampard's guidance.

Having been used both as a winger and as a central attacking player, the 22-year-old now hopes to win the trust of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

"I think when your manager is such a legend in the game, you've got to take everything you can off him, whether it's something to improve on or it's a pat on the back," he told the Guardian of Lampard.

"It is only going to benefit me because now I don't necessarily play on the wing; I play either side, number 10, central midfield.

"There is a loan guy called Jools [Julian Ward]; I am in touch with him and he reports back to the [Liverpool] manager. I have had a few texts off [Jurgen Klopp]. It's good to know you are not being forgotten.

"I wanted to come to a good football team so I could showcase what I could do. Hopefully the manager has seen the games on TV and I've made a good impression. I'll go back there in pre-season; what happens from there I don't know."

Ireland back-row Sean O'Brien has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup due to surgery on a hip injury that will keep him out for six months.

O'Brien did not feature for Leinster as they defeat Glasgow Warriors on Saturday to clinch the Pro14 title, although he did lift the trophy in his final match for the club.

The 32-year-old has agreed a deal to join newly promoted London Irish in the Premiership following the World Cup.

But O'Brien will not be involved in the tournament in Japan, Leinster revealed on Sunday, as he requires an operation to fix his hip.

A club statement read: "Unfortunately, [coach Leo] Cullen has confirmed that back row Sean O'Brien will undergo surgery in the next few weeks for a hip injury and, as a result, will be ruled out of action for up to six months.

"As a result, he has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup in Japan."

It added: "Everyone at Leinster Rugby wishes Sean the very best of luck with his recovery and, of course, with his move to London Irish later in the year."

London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney said: "We are disappointed for Sean that he is not in a position to compete for a place in the Ireland Rugby World Cup squad.

"We wish him a successful operation and a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming him to London Irish for the next stage of his career."

John Terry could beat Frank Lampard in the "race against each other" to become Chelsea boss, according to former Blues captain Dennis Wise.

Reports have linked Derby County manager Lampard with a return to Stamford Bridge amid rumours Maurizio Sarri could seek a switch back to his native Italy.

Lampard, 40, spent more than a decade with the London club as a player and has reached the Championship play-off final in first season in charge of Derby.

He will share a touchline with former team-mate Terry at Wembley on Monday and it is the Aston Villa assistant that Wise views as a stronger choice to land the Chelsea job first.

"If I had to have a bet, if I was really pressed, then I would say John will get the Chelsea job before Frank," Wise told the Sun.

"They will both want it, I'm sure of that and it is a race against the clock — a race against each other — in many ways.

"John is doing it differently to Frank because he has gone in as an assistant at Villa to Dean Smith — and that's a shrewd move. It means he can listen to some conversations in the manager's office that he has never heard before.

"Players can look up to, respect and admire people like Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti out on the training field, or the way they conduct themselves around the club.

"What the players don't see is the planning, preparation, the tactical analysis and conversations that go on inside the manager's office."

Terry took up a coaching role at Villa in October after captaining the club in their play-off final defeat to Fulham 12 months ago.

The ex-England centre-back is said to be in the sights of Middlesbrough, who are searching for a new manager following the dismissal of Tony Pulis.

Derby Counter owner Mel Morris is not concerned by reports linking manager Frank Lampard to Chelsea.

Blues great Lampard won three Premier League titles, the Champions League and the Europa League while at Stamford Bridge, but he has made his first steps into management with Derby.

The 40-year-old has guided the Rams to Monday's Championship play-off final against Aston Villa, although the build-up to a pivotal match has been dogged by suggestions he might depart the club.

Lampard is said to be a candidate to replace Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri, who continues to be the subject of speculation despite a strong end to the season.

Derby chief Morris will work to keep Lampard, but admits there is little he can do to stop the former midfielder's name being discussed.

"Frank's always going to be linked with Chelsea," Morris told BBC Radio Derby.

"Is anyone surprised that lots of people would be interested in him given what he has achieved this season? His style of football has been fantastic.

"Right now, Chelsea have got a massive game coming up next week [the Europa League final against Arsenal] and we've got a massive game coming up.

"I can guarantee that no-one wants any focus on anything other than those two games.

"For Frank, he should view it as a compliment that he is being connected with that opportunity. But he always will be."

Lampard signed a three-year contract at Derby at the start of the season and has overseen the development of Chelsea loan men Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount.

Daniel James has withdrawn from Wales' training camp in Portugal following the death of his father.

Swansea City offered condolences to their 21-year-old winger in a statement on Twitter.

"Everyone at Swansea City has been saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Daniel James' father," it read.

"Everyone at the football club send their condolences and our thoughts are with Daniel and his family at this sad time."

James, who has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at Swansea this season – scoring four goals and laying on seven assists in 33 Championship appearances.

Ryan Giggs' Wales squad are in training ahead of Euro 2020 qualifiers in Croatia and Hungary next month.

Brighton and Hove Albion have appointed Graham Potter as manager on a four-year deal. 

The Englishman, celebrating his 44th birthday on the day of his arrival at the Amex Stadium, left his post at Swansea City on Monday to succeed the sacked Chris Hughton.

Hughton lost his job despite leading the Seagulls to Premier League safety and the FA Cup semi-finals, with Potter quickly emerging as the leading candidate to take over.

Brighton will reportedly have to pay more than £2million in compensation.

Potter said: "I was sold by the long-term vision and passion shown by Tony Bloom, Paul Barber and Dan Ashworth.

"The ideas and plans they have for the future of this football club excited me; I am thrilled and honoured to be a part of it."

It is the former Stoke City and West Brom player's first job in England's top flight and caps a remarkable rise from the relative obscurity of Sweden's fourth division.

Potter landed at unheralded Ostersunds in 2010 and secured three promotions, along with a memorable victory over Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in the Europa League, before departing for Wales in 2018.

He earned praise for helping cash-strapped Swansea to 10th, while also guiding them to the FA Cup quarter-finals, and implementing a forward-thinking playing style during his lone season in charge.

Bournemouth have signed England Under-21 international Lloyd Kelly from Bristol City for a reported £13million fee.

The 20-year-old made 32 appearances in the Championship in the 2018-19 season as City narrowly missed out on the play-offs.

A left-sided defender, Kelly - who was linked with Liverpool, Arsenal and Southampton - has agreed a long-term contract to join the Cherries.

"It's a fantastic club. The move has come around quite quickly, but I'm happy to be here and can't wait to start playing," he told Bournemouth’s official website.

"Premier League football is what I've always wanted to achieve. I want to play as many games as possible and I feel like this is the right place for me to try and do that."

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is pleased to have added another young talent to his squad, following on from the arrivals of Dominic Solanke, Chris Mepham and David Brooks over the past year.

"Lloyd is an exciting talent and a player of real potential, while at the same time already possessing good experience for someone so young," Howe said.

"He is athletic, versatile, physically excellent and has a very bright future ahead of him.

"I’m delighted that we have been able to strike so early in the summer and look forward to working with Lloyd during the coming seasons."

Ryan Babel and Jonas Lossl are among the first-team regulars that will leave Fulham and Huddersfield Town respectively as both clubs prepare for life in the Championship.

Netherlands forward Babel joined Fulham on a short-term deal in January, scoring five league goals in 16 appearances for the Cottagers.

He is not the only notable departure, however, with another former Liverpool player in Lazar Markovic also leaving after a disappointing spell at Craven Cottage, while Andre Schurrle, Calum Chambers, Sergio Rico, Luciano Vietto and Timothy Fosu-Mensah will return to their parent clubs following their loan deals.

Huddersfield, meanwhile, have released goalkeeper Lossl, along with Erik Durm, Danny Williams, Jack Payne and Laurent Depoitre.

The Terriers have confirmed they will take up an option to sign Isaac Mbenza permanently from Montpellier following his season-long loan.

Middlesbrough have parted company with boss Tony Pulis following their failure to win promotion to the Premier League.

Boro finished seventh in the Championship, missing out on a place in the play-offs by one point.

Pulis, who replaced Garry Monk midway through the 2017-18 campaign, was reportedly due to be out of contract next month and the club will not be extending his deal.

The 61-year-old was regularly criticised by supporters for his style of play, with Middlesbrough scoring just 49 goals in 46 league matches in 2018-19, but chairman Steve Gibson has thanked the departing manager for stabilising the club.

"Over the past 18 months Tony has been proactive, not only in the ambition to win football matches and promotion to the Premier League, but also in addressing our financial position in order to comply and respect the Championship Fair Play criteria," Gibson told Boro's official website. 

"He has ensured that the club is stable and strong for the future. He leaves us in excellent condition."

Marcelo Bielsa indicated he is willing to stay at Leeds United despite their defeat to Derby County in the Championship play-offs.

Derby lost the first leg 1-0 and were trailing in the second clash at Elland Road on Wednesday before turning the match on its head to run out 4-2 winners on the night and 4-3 on aggregate. 

Former Argentina and Chile coach Bielsa signed a two-year deal on his June 2018 arrival at Leeds, who led the Championship table at Christmas but missed out on automatic promotion in the closing weeks.

"As you can imagine, it is not convenient to talk about this right now," Bielsa told reporters after Leeds' 15-year exile from the Premier League was extended.

"You know about this process. If the club offers me the possibility to carry on, I will listen to this proposal."

Gaetano Berardi's red card contributed to Leeds' downfall, with Jack Marriott scoring twice off the bench for the Rams, but Bielsa accepted responsibility for his side's failure to make it to Wembley.

"There have been mistakes and that leads to doubts about the head coach," said Bielsa, who was dejected at the full-time whistle.

"If you have resources to reach something and you don't reach it, if you face the difficulties you have to face and you have the possibility to reach the goal and you don't reach it, we have to assume the worst possibility. I couldn't find a solution and it's my job to find solutions.

"It is a painful situation and we are very disappointed. There was a loss of control. As managers, we should provide a solution, giving strong structures, but we had 20 minutes of disorder. We have many things to take into account."

Lampard and veteran left-back Ashley Cole will now face former Chelsea team-mate John Terry - assistant at Villa - for a place in the Premier League on May 27 and he celebrated wildly with his players after beating Leeds in a bad-tempered clash that also saw Scott Malone sent off. 

The former England midfielder and his players reclaimed the version of Oasis classic 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out' sung by Leeds fans in reference to the 'spygate' scandal engulfing Bielsa earlier in the year and Lampard hailed his young team's achievement.

"It means such a great deal," said Lampard, who is in his first season as a manager. "From the day I came in, we had issues. Every club in the Championship has issues, but it was about how can we bring the average age of the squad down, how can we bring energy into the team.

"There have been ups and downs on the way, including losing the first leg at home. In terms of personal achievement, it's up there with anything I've achieved, the way I'm feeling right now. I'm very proud of everyone.

"They say emotions are intensified as a manager and it's definitely true. I got caught up in it, but I do aim high. Maybe I was naive to do that because I was aware of the financial issues we had. I knew we had to sell players, loan players and because it's been so tough, it's more than I could have imagined the way it's turned out.

"I won't take back those celebrations because we've strived for it. Once they've enjoyed [the celebrations], it's heads down, get some rest and be ready for it. It'll be a test. Villa are a really great outfit and we'll be underdogs again."

Derby County came from behind to beat Leeds United 4-2 at Elland Road and book a showdown with Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final.

Leeds secured a 1-0 win at the weekend – a third victory out of three against Derby this season for Marcelo Bielsa's men in a rivalry that simmered in the aftermath of the "spygate" controversy.

Bielsa's opposite number Frank Lampard had the last laugh, however, with Jack Marriott's introduction from the bench proving pivotal as the forward struck a decisive brace.

Leeds full-back Stuart Dallas also hit a double but his defensive colleagues malfunctioned after his opener, with Mason Mount on target and Harry Wilson converting a 58th-minute penalty before each team had a player sent off.

Bolstered by their first-leg advantage, Leeds seemed intent on ending the argument as they pinned Derby back during the opening stages.

The visitors held out for 24 minutes, when Kalvin Phillips' free-kick swung in from the left and came back off the post to leave Dallas with a tap-in.

Mateusz Klich then saw a deflected drive hit the crossbar but Derby levelled against the run of play on the stroke of half-time – substitute Marriott having an instant impact as he capitalised on a mix-up between Liam Cooper and Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

Mount hauled Derby level in a tie turned on its head 38 seconds into the second half, digging out a fabulous finish to cap a solo run, and the woefully erratic Casilla was similarly helpless when Cooper pulled back Mason Bennett to concede a penalty that Wilson converted.

As the chant from Derby's away following suggested, Leeds appeared to be falling apart, only for Dallas to dart onto Klich's cute pass and clinically dispatch his second of the game.

Dallas' fellow full-back Luke Ayling almost restored Leeds' aggregate advantage when he exchanged passes with Patrick Bamford and shot wide.

But a period in the ascendancy for Bielsa's side ended when Gaetano Berardi received a second yellow card for a rash challenge on Bradley Johnson in the 78th minute.

Five minutes from time, Keogh played in Marriott for a delightful dinked finish and Derby held out despite Scott Malone's stoppage-time dismissal meaning a breathless encounter ended 10 versus 10.

Jed Steer saved two spot-kicks as Aston Villa advanced to the Championship play-off final with a 4-3 penalty shoot-out triumph over a 10-man West Brom at The Hawthorns on Tuesday.

Craig Dawson's first-half header left the aggregate score locked at 2-2 after 120 minutes but the visitors held their nerve from 12 yards to book a trip to Wembley for the second successive season.

Mason Holgate and Ahmed Hegazi failed to convert before Tammy Abraham stroked home the decisive effort in a cruel end for Jimmy Shan's side, who had Chris Brunt sent off for a second yellow card in the 80th minute.

West Brom had returned from Saturday's 2-1 loss at Villa Park with work to do and found an unlikely route back into the tie when defender Dawson nodded in Holgate's long throw in the 29th minute.

Dean Smith's men almost gifted away a second beyond the interval as multiple ill-fated attempts at playing out from the back put them under needless pressure.

But the odds swung in their favour when Brunt earned a second booking for scything down John McGinn, and only former Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone's brilliant denial of Albert Adomah prevented the match from being settled inside 90 minutes.

West Brom hung on throughout 30 minutes of extra time, but Steer's twin saves in the shoot-out meant Adomah's subsequent miss counted for little.

Villa's hopes for Premier League promotion will now rest on a May 27 date with either Leeds United or Derby County, the winner of which will be decided at Elland Road on Wednesday.

Leeds hold a 1-0 first-leg lead over Frank Lampard's outfit.

Neil Warnock will remain Cardiff City's manager for their return to the Championship next season, chairman Mehmet Dalman has confirmed.

Talks over Warnock's future took place following the 2-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday and an agreement has been reached for him to remain at the helm.

The Bluebirds looked like defying the expectations of many in their single season back in the Premier League, but a 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace in the penultimate round of fixtures resulted in their relegation.

Warnock, 70, now has the chance to build on his record of eight Football League promotions, achieved when he guided the club to a top-two finish in the second tier in 2017-18.

"He is the best man for the job, there was never any doubt in my mind," Dalman said in quotes reported by the BBC.

"We all share the same vision. We will give [promotion] another go."

Former Sheffield United and QPR boss Warnock dismissed the possibility of overseeing another Premier League campaign when asked about his future after the season-ending triumph at Old Trafford.

"I wouldn't want to manage in the Premier League again," he said.

Cardiff finished two points adrift of safety in the top flight, having won 10 and drawn four of their 38 matches.

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