Chelsea have sacked manager Frank Lampard. The former midfielder and club legend was relieved of his duties following a run of two wins in eight Premier League matches. His final match was Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round win against Luton. Former PSG and Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is set to step into the hot-seat.
After a successful stint as manager of Derby County, Lampard succeeded Maurizio Sarri in July 2019. The Blues achieved a Top Four finish and reached the FA Cup final despite a transfer ban. Lampard also integrated homegrown academy talents, such as Mason Mount, Reece James and Tammy Abraham.
It is thought that their lack of confidence and form, coupled with a deteriorating relationship with Sporting Director Marina Granovskaia, contributed towards Lampard’s dismissal
Things started positively for Chelsea this season, too. The Blues topped their Champions League group, including an impressive 4-0 drubbing away at Sevilla, in which Olivier Giroud scored all four. After a 3-1 win against Leeds capped off an eight match unbeaten streak, Chelsea were sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League Table. However, the wheels have come off since a 1-0 away defeat at Everton.
Following the expiry of the transfer embargo, Chelsea heavily backed Lampard in the summer: £222m went on signing seven players. Some have settled in easily and become fixtures in the starting XI, such as goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, England international Ben Chilwell and ex-Brazil captain Thiago Silva. The other big-money signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have failed to hit the ground running. It is thought that their lack of confidence and form, coupled with a deteriorating relationship with Sporting Director Marina Granovskaia, contributed towards Lampard’s dismissal.
I would like to thank you for everything you and your committee have done for me since the day I arrived. As I told you, it seemed like we had been working together for 10 years!! Thank you very much for everything legend . #FrankLampard #legend ?? pic.twitter.com/tAyKKLZO6X— Thiago Silva (@tsilva3) January 25, 2021
In a statement, Chelsea said: ‘This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and the board have taken lightly. We are grateful to Frank for what he has achieved in his time as head coach of the club. However, recent results and performances have not met the club’s expectations, leaving the club mid-table without any clear path to sustained improvement. There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the club time to improve performances and results this season.’
For the first time, owner Roman Abramovich made a statement regarding a manager’s dismissal. The Russian oligarch said: ‘This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him. He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.’
Roman Abramovich is not an owner who tolerates failure. Lampard’s points-per-game average of 1.67 is the lowest of any permanent Chelsea manager in the Premier League era
Thomas Tuchel, the former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain manager, is set to replace Lampard. The German is a renowned tactician who has longed to manage in England. Last season, Tuchel led PSG to the Champions League final and had won back-to-back Ligue 1 titles. It is hoped for that the German can rejuvenate the form of his compatriots Havertz and Werner. Moreover, Tuchel has enjoyed success with American winger Christian Pulisic at Borussia Dortmund and Thiago Silva, his captain at Paris Saint-Germain.
This is a sad day for Chelsea fans, who hoped that Lampard’s premiership would herald a new era of managerial continuity. Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Jürgen Klopp are both flourishing at Manchester United and Liverpool respectively after similar rough patches of form at the start of their tenures. Lampard is Chelsea’s all-time record scorer, with 211 goals in 648 appearances for the Blues between 2001 and 2014. He won 11 major trophies in his glittering career at Stamford Bridge. A banner reading “In Frank We Trust: Then. Now. Forever.” will still adorn the Shed End at Stamford Bridge.
But Roman Abramovich is not an owner who tolerates failure. Lampard’s points-per-game average of 1.67 is the lowest of any permanent Chelsea manager in the Premier League era. In their 0-2 defeat at Leicester, Chelsea looked devoid of creativity, while their pressing was shambolic.
Tuchel will become the 11th full-time manager appointed since Roman Abramovich took over ownership of the club in 2003. He had infamous battles over control of his squad with Paris-Saint Germain’s sporting director Leonardo; these battles are likely to be relived at Chelsea. It will be interesting to see how the German will use the world-class squad at his disposal. It will be just as interesting to see how long Tuchel will last as manager.
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