November 25 – Chelsea’s notorious policy of impatience and short-termism is back in the spotlight after the club sacked Frank Lampard as manager.
Lampard, the club’s record goalscorer as a player, was fired after 18 months in the job despite defying a transfer ban last season when he guided Chelsea to the FA Cup Final and into this term’s Champions League without signing a single player.
Rarely for Chelsea, they went for one of their own when Lampard was appointed in July 2019, in succession to Maurizio Sarri. But in trademark fashion they have dispensed with his services after the club failed to live up to expectations having slipped to ninth in the Premier League after a run of five defeats in the last eight league games.
Many thought that for once Chelsea might have allowed Lampard more time, given his status as an iconic figure. But after a £200 million summer outlay on seven new players – the most Chelsea have spent in one window – they will not have been impressed by Lampard recently questioning the desire of some of his big-name signings.
Only last week after losing to Leicester, Lampard told the media: “When I came into this job, the job of management, you understand some things are beyond your control.”
Reports suggest that Germany’s former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel, recently sacked by Paris St Germain despite reaching last season’s Champions League final and highly thought of across Europe, is the man Chelsea want to replace Lampard.
In a statement, the club insisted: “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.”
Owner Roman Abramovich said Lampard’s status as an “important icon” of the club “remains undiminished” despite his dismissal.
“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,” said Abramovich. “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.”
Read into that what you will. Suffice to say that Tuchel, if appointed, will be Chelsea’s 11th full-time manager in 17 years. Which is surely some kind of record.
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