Chop and change – Why Chelsea should give Frank Lampard more time as manager


Credit: Chelsea FC

There is no doubt that Chelsea are one of England’s most successful clubs in recent years.

They have conquered the European stage and domestic competitions, adding to their ever-expanding collection of trophies.

It is a club that is used to success, with the highest of standards expected to be achieved every season. A rich club with world-class facilities such as Chelsea would be most managers’ dream, but the job brings extreme pressure, which is what the current boss Frank Lampard is experiencing right now.

Since Lampard’s arrival in the summer of 2019, the club has been going through a period of transition. A transfer ban prevented the London club from signing any new players to the squad and therefore meant they had to utilise the services of their youth prospects for the upcoming season.

The 2019/2020 campaign became a breakthrough season for players such as Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Reece James all of whom are now regular starters for the club.

It was clear to see that the Chelsea manager had faith in the younger players and was starting to create a team with a healthy balance of experience and youth.

A top-four finish and an FA Cup Final appearance cemented a solid season for the Blues, with the club ready to head into the next season with bigger ambitions due to them now being able to operate in the transfer market.

In came Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy, all of which were ready to take the club to the next level, but as this season has shown so far, this hasn’t exactly gone to plan.

Chelsea currently sit in ninth in the Premier League which is well below where they should be. All was well for Lampard and co as they went 14 games unbeaten in all competitions from October to mid-December.

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It seemed as though Chelsea’s defensive issues had been solved thanks to the arrival of Thiago Silva and the new partnership he made with Kurt Zouma, as well as the impressive performances being made by new goalkeeper Mendy.

However, the arrival of the congested Christmas schedule saw Chelsea enter a period of poor form, with losses against Everton, Wolves, Arsenal and Manchester City all coming in the span three weeks.

With performances slacking and pressure mounting, there have already been rumours of the Chelsea hierarchy preparing for their next managerial appointment should the situation worsen. Despite the club’s history of consistently changing managers, such a move would not be beneficial for the club.

Since the start of the Roman Abramovich era in 2003, the club have employed 12 different managers. Big names such as Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti and Antonio Conte have all been at the helm, bringing success along the way.

However, recent seasons have shown that even a top-four finish isn’t enough for some managers to keep their jobs.

The Russian owner’s arrival sparked a new winning culture at the club, particularly when they won back-to-back Premier League titles in Mourinho’s first stint in charge.

Despite such overwhelming success, the Portuguese boss left at the start of his fourth season there. Finishing as runners-up in the league with the addition of FA Cup and League Cup victories in the campaign prior to his departure were clearly not enough for him to stay at the club any longer.

The biggest case of them all is arguably Roberto Di Matteo’s time as manager. He arrived in March 2012 after a disappointing few months with Andre Villas-Boas in charge.

Just two months later, Di Matteo had won the club’s first Champions League title as well as another FA Cup. By November, he was sacked due to a poor start to the season. Abramovich and the Chelsea hierarchy once again proved that they are ruthless.

Lampard’s first season, compared to previous campaigns, would be seen as a failure but due to the circumstances that he faced, he was able to keep his job for another season.

The club are going through a tough time as of late but to dismiss the manager of his duties at this stage of the season would undo all the work and progress that has been made up until this point.

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At the end of the day, the club are employing a legend of the game. He has won countless trophies and honours in his career and knows the club inside out.

His time as manager is a long term project which, as we have seen throughout the last 18 months, will not bring immediate success which many Chelsea fans would undoubtedly crave.

This season, in particular, is a chance for the new signings that were bought in the summer to integrate themselves into the rest of the team and hopefully build a squad that is ready to push on and challenge for more titles within the next five years or so.

Although Chelsea’s culture of chopping and changing managers has proved to bring constant success to the club, it is time for Abramovich and co to hold back on their ruthlessness and give Lampard more time in charge.

A perfect example of a club giving a manager time to succeed is Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp. His early days in Merseyside did not bring immediate success, but he has been given time to bring in the players he wanted and develop a winning formula, which has now seen them win their sixth Champions League title and end their 30-year wait for a Premier League trophy.

Yes, Lampard is inexperienced in football management. Yes, the big money players that he signed in the summer haven’t been performing at their best, but no matter how relevant these points are, it is important to look at the bigger picture.

To sack Lampard now after a short run of poor form would be uninspiring and disrespectful to a club legend. Of course, if the club is in a similar position in another 12-18 months, then a fresh face may need to be brought in to get back on track, but for now, patience is needed if Chelsea are to win trophies again.

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