Chelsea has lost patience with manager Frank Lampard, who’s been sensationally and brutally sacked midway through his second season in charge of the big Premier League club.
The club on Monday night (AEDT) confirmed Lampard’s dismissal after Chelsea players were told not to report to the club until the afternoon (GMT).
The move comes less than 24 hours after a 3-1 win against Luton in the FA Cup and Chelsea fans group ‘We Are The Shed’ created a banner reading: “In Frank we trust. Then. Now. Forever.”
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In a statement, Chelsea said it’d made a “very difficult decision”, but declared: “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.”
While the club said it wouldn’t make any further comment until a new coach was appointed, Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano reported former Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel was in line to take over.
Engand great Gary Linekar described Chelsea’s decision as “utterly ludicrous”.
“It was always going to need time given so many new signings feeling their way into a new club. Patience being a virtue is seldom recognised in this sport. They never learn,” Linerkar tweeted.
Lampard, who won Premier League titles as a player for Chelsea, had been under the spotlight after a wretched run in the England’s top football competition.
After notoriously demanding Blues owner Roman Abramovich bankrolled a $354 million (AUD) spending spree during the off-season — at a time when most of European football’s major powers were scaling back due to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic — Lampard was expected to mount a title challenge.
But a dismal run of five defeats in their last eight Premier League games has left Chelsea languishing in ninth place, 11 points behind leaders Manchester United. The Blues have lost six Premier League matches so far this season, losing five of their last eight league games.
“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,” club owner Roman Abramovich said.
“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.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, the board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as head coach and wish him every success in the future. He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
As a player Lampard got used to the fickleness of Abramovich towards his managers with nine appointed during his time there.
Chelsea’s record goalscorer signed a three-year deal in 2019 and, despite a transfer ban, led them to the FA Cup final and a fourth-place finish in his first managerial campaign at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard recently said whatever happened to him would not damage what he achieved as a player at the club.
“My career here as a player was fantastic and it’s set in stone,” he said.
“When I say fantastic I’m not giving it the big I am, I’m talking about the success I was proud to be a part of at the club.
“And the link I have here with the fans and the support I get from them is amazing. And I knew when I came into this job as a manager that can change, the tone of it.
“You do your best and I’ll continue to do that all the time while managing the club.”
Tuchel only became available a month ago when he left PSG, less than five months after taking them to the Champions League final, which they lost to Bayern Munich.
The 47-year-old German won back-to-back league titles with PSG, but that was not enough to satisfy the club’s ambitious owners, who replaced him with Mauricio Pochettino.
Prior to PSG, Tuchel impressed at Borussia Dortmund, having started his managerial career with Augsburg and then Mainz.
— with AFP