Sitting 68 storeys high above Yokohama Bay, between training sessions with his body clock off kilter, Frank Lampard
was recalling how he was a player who liked to keep his distance from the manager's office.
'I wouldn't have gone there much,' said the new Chelsea
boss. 'Only if I was called in or if I went in for any reason as vice-captain. I always respected the manager.
'I tried to be low maintenance and that corridor towards the manager's office was somewhere you didn't venture much. But now it's where I'll be, I suppose.'
It is 16 days since Lampard was confirmed in the job, days which have sped by in a blur of coaching, meetings, friendlies, hotels and flights.
First to Ireland and onto Japan, where Friday's 1-0 defeat at the hands of J-League champions Kawasaki Frontale on humid evening in Yokohama was blamed upon jet lag, sleep loss and weariness in the ranks, with Kepa Arrizabalaga and Tammy Abraham unable to play because they were unwell.
There has been only one win from three games and it has been an energy-sapping schedule but the manager made time before leaving for Dublin to visit the training ground, walk down that same corridor, step into his new office and see how it felt to settle into one the hottest hot-seats.
'It did feel good,' he said. 'It has felt good to be back.
LAMPARD'S NINE CHELSEA MANAGERS
— signed Lampard in 2001, left in 2004
— 2004-2007, 2013-2015
Luiz Felipe Scolari
Roberto Di Matteo
'It's certainly a benefit to know the building so well and a lot of the faces in the building made it not so much of a first-day-of-school feeling.'
As a Chelsea player, he saw nine different managers come and go. Some of them more than once. Some of them genuine greats of modern coaching who have been buzzing his phone with good wishes during the last two weeks. But Lampard is resisting the urge to tap into their wisdom.
He may lack on-the-job experience but he knows Chelsea and its idiosyncrasies and he is determined to do this his own way, to forge his own style as he continues a career which started at Derby last year.
'Don't get me wrong, I've had texts with Jose Mourinho and I have a good relationship with Carlo Ancelotti,' said Lampard.
'I spoke about Jose a lot, about when he first came, and the lift he gave me, the self-confidence, more mentally than actually tactically or physically. Guus Hiddink sent me a message this week which was very nice. These are all managers I respect.
'I respect all the managers I had, even ones I maybe didn't have a close connection to.'
Andre Villas-Boas dropped Lampard, and other established stars, as he tried to shake things up while Luiz Felipe Scolari upset senior players by failing to maintain the levels of intensity and fitness which had been set by Mourinho. Neither Villas-Boas nor Scolari survived a full season and the Chelsea dressing room acquired a reputation for dissent which has never quite gone away.
'When you become a manager you realise it is not that simple,' said Lampard. 'It's not about close connections with everyone. You can't love every manager and you can't love every player but you have to work together.
'So I haven't gone searching for many words from managers.
'I'm not picking up the phone because if I rang up Carlo Ancelotti and asked him about a situation, it would potentially be so different from the situation he dealt with.
'I try to learn via myself, by working daily with the players. If I ever felt the need to reach out I would, but I think we all have to find our own way.'
In his twenties Lampard had no desire to get into management. In his thirties he was warming to the notion but the post-Chelsea years have proved crucial.
He had not envisaged playing for another team, until he was released at the end of this contract in June 2014, signed for New York City and quickly moved across the Abu Dhabi football family to join Manchester City on loan. Three months later, he was scoring a late equaliser for City against Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium as the away fans sang his name.
'It was a strange time, but it worked out pretty good,' said Lampard. 'You never have an idea how those things happen. And I understand now how Chelsea wanted to move on.
'They were striving for another push with some younger and different players. So there were no hard feelings. Once the dust settled I was just very thankful for a long career at Chelsea and a nice little ending with City and New York. In terms of me being here as Chelsea manager that year certainly helped.'
Lampard played 38 times for City and scored eight goals as they finished runners-up behind Mourinho's Chelsea.
'City allowed me to see another idea, their plans, the way they wanted to drive, the training ground and people,' he added.
'There was a correlation about what Chelsea did in 2003/04 and what City did.
'They came in and changed the landscape. They had slightly different ways of doing it and that's fine. But I did see two clubs hungry to be winners, to change and set standards really high. As I left, Pep Guardiola came along and his on-pitch detail and work has taken it on.
'We have seen a performance level that rivals any generation, any era of football. We have to realise they are the standards set. Liverpool as well. We're under no illusions.'
Chelsea finished third last season, 26 points behind City who have strengthened to the tune of £75million with Rodri and Angelino. Chelsea have sold Eden Hazard and are under a transfer ban.
'The only way I know to change that gap is through absolute hard work and focus,' said Lampard. 'Those basics don't change, and with the transfer ban there is even more clarity because we can't bring in players.
'Every day I read City are buying and Manchester United are going to buy. All these teams are going to do business and that's going to strengthen them.
'So we have to be realistic, but then I see every day the quality we have here. And I think about the players not here like Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Willian, Antonio Rudiger and Reece James, and I think we have a competitive squad. I believe in them and there's more because we have a lot of younger players.
'There can be an uplift. That's not me saying I'm going to make the difference. It will be the players who make the difference.
'So there's the challenge. Now, can we win the league? It's going to be a big ask. But we have to set out with that mind-set.'
Lampard usually responds to a challenge and his acumen will be tested in new ways after his first coaching job at Derby.
'I already sensed the size of the club and differences off the pitch, dealing with players with 70 caps. And titles. Pedro has won God-knows-how-many titles. But the basics are the same.
'On the pitch I will ask for one thing and that's absolutely buying into how I want to do it.
'I don't think you can compromise on that.'