Time to separate struggling manager Frank Lampard from Chelsea legend

“He intensified [the pressure] for me some time ago. The expectations of this club are high. It is something that will always be there. It is not my decision. Some things are always beyond your control. That I can’t answer. “

Frank Lampard after Leicester defeat

It was as if Frank Lampard was offering viewers a game of ‘football manager about to be sacked’ bingo as he addressed the media after another The defeat left his Chelsea side at their lowest level on Tuesday night.

A 2-0 loss to Leicester was dismally predictable, and now – after five defeats in eight Premier League games – it feels like the sense of unease is too deep for the former midfielder to be toned down. Lampard has spent so much time scowling on the sidelines over the past month that his forehead is now definitely wrinkled. It is an expression that feels emblematic of his management style.

Frank Lampard
This is Lampard’s default expression lately | Pool / Getty Images

The head coach’s status as the club’s legend at Chelsea is irrevocable, but it is a title that is destined to be synonymous with his playing career alone. For fans of the West London club, now is the time to distinguish between the two; a cerebral separation between the iconic champion and the dark manager.

As the perfect tackling, goal and action midfielder that lived and breathed Chelsea, Lampard was the personification of the ‘us versus them’, the foxhole mentality that has brought unprecedented success over the years. 2000 and into the late 2010s, ending his time at Stamford Bridge with three league titles, four FA Cups and that famous Champions League crown.

But that grumpy and relentless tact that has so perfectly translated into relentless winning performances on the pitch is much less endearing; While some sections of the Chelsea fan base still see the club’s former number eight through the most rosy of rose-tinted glasses, his audience approval ratings are on the decline, arguably making him the manager least popular in the Premier League at the moment.

Jose Mourinho Manager of Chelsea
Frank Lampard is a field born winner | Phil Cole / Getty Images

A lot of it thanks to his barbed-wire post-game interviews, his, uh, Political Views, and the swearing sideline with the neutral’s favorite manager, Jürgen Klopp. In short, after being the darling of Chelsea supporters for over a decade, the veil of sympathy is slipping over time.

Only the head coach and his players will know if his behavior is reflected in his handling of the man, but the management of Marcos Alonso, Toni Rudiger, Fikayo Tomori and, more recently, Timo Werner suggests that something is wrong. With his team members frozen over but still training with the first team, there’s no way this will be a totally happy camp.

Werner’s struggles have been well documented and Lampard – who is said to have mounted the blower himself to convince the German to upgrade to £ 47.5million at Stamford Bridge – publicly backed him to succeed, only to let him fall and apparently dig it up on two. occasions.

Timo Werner, Frank Lampard
Lampard’s handling of Werner is questionable | Sebastian Frej / MB Media / Getty Images

Speaking after being outmatched at King Power, he said pointedly: “There are players who don’t play as well as they should be, it’s a simple fact. It was clear tonight and they are the only ones who can handle it.

“What you can handle, how you work in training, how you prepare, how you deal with setbacks, will be what defines you. There are players in the team who are in this position. ”

Mount Mason
Mason Mount may be the only player to rise and be counted in recent weeks | Michael Regan / Getty Images

Lampard’s problem is that it’s not just a privileged few who are seriously underachieving, with arguably only Mason Mount able to hold his head high after the events of the past few weeks. The common thread, sadly, is the head coach, his cognitive dissonance with team selections, his muddled tactics, and his discernible lack of style of play.

His appointment in 2019 offered a ray of hope in what could have been a very dark era for the club, and he undeniably deserves huge credit for resisting a transfer ban to guide Chelsea to safety in the League of champions last season, believing it must be said that the Blues have finally crawled over the line and profited enormously from the weakness of their opponents – including Leicester -.

There is an air of inevitability that, with £ 200million spent this summer, it has emerged that Lampard is not the man to take Chelsea to the next level, and the finger should rightly be pointed at them. members of the hierarchy who thought it right. to give the novice coach a three-year contract.

Those who defend Lampard bring up the idea of ​​a “project”, which last season was certainly with the need to navigate under the embargo and promote youth – but it arguably would have been the case whoever was responsible. The lavish spending the summer threw project notion out the window, with the club inevitably returning to type in a bid to quickly recover among the European elite.

“The process is sometimes difficult. You could have seen that maybe the first, second or third year at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, the first year under Pep Guardiola. ”

Lampard talks about defeat ahead of Man City

Supporters in some quarters believe he deserves more time, but with this mediocre form now falling by ten games, that would only be justified if there are signs of a recovery, which is not just not the case as it is.

Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich may have a decision to make | Chris Brunskill Ltd / Getty Images

Lampard himself has said that it takes patience, just as Klopp and Pep Guardiola were when they debuted at Liverpool and Man City respectively. The problem is that it is clearly do not a Klopp or Guardiola, but you have to admire the temerity.

Who knows, after a few years of development elsewhere, he may well emerge as a top trainer, but at the moment he’s beside himself. As tough as it may be, it’s time for club supporters and top brass to take off those rose-tinted glasses and look past the legend.

In the Roman Abramovich era, which lasted for 18 years, no manager has survived such a scorching time, and in fact several have been relieved for much less egregious forms. At the bottom of an appalling streak with a tattered title challenge and Champions League hopes on the line, why should Lampard be treated any differently?

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