EPL

Frank Lampard: Chelsea must avoid knee-jerk decisions if they are to recover

By Sports Desk May 24, 2023

Chelsea must move beyond football’s tendency to be reactionary if the club hope to create a long-term vision for their future, according to Frank Lampard.

Co-owner Todd Boehly has sacked two managers this season in what has been the team’s poorest campaign of the Premier League era, with a record low number of points won and a first bottom-half finish since 1996 now certain.

They are one of 11 top-flight clubs to have changed manager at least once this season, with themselves, Leeds and relegated Southampton having dispensed with two, as the average tenure for a Premier League coach has shrunk to just over 18 months.

Chelsea’s previously indifferent form has plummeted since Graham Potter was removed on April 2, with one win in 10 games in all competitions. The team has failed to score in six of those matches following Potter’s sacking.

Lampard takes his team to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Thursday looking for only his second win in his 10th game since taking charge, having lost seven of the previous nine.

With Mauricio Pochettino expected to be confirmed imminently as the manager for next season, the outgoing interim coach suggested a resistance to modern trends must prevail if Chelsea are to challenge once more.

“That stat (11 clubs having sacked their manager) says it, I presume it’s a record,” said Lampard. “There are understandable factors, the Premier League brand and what it means to teams to stay in there.

“The first person that receives the blame is the coach, if you understand that going into the job that’s probably a good thing.

“Or course there’s lots of other factors. You wonder how successful always it is to changes those things. It’s clear it’s become that kind of a job and a situation and there are many teams that are fighting with expectations that might not be exactly stable.

“We’re in a very reactionary world anyway. In years gone by the reaction to one, two, three defeats might have been different. Now we have this explosion very quickly and you just have to understand it when you’re doing this job.”

The job of finding Potter’s permanent replacement has been carried out by co-sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, who themselves arrived at the club only during the last year.

Previously Boehly held the role of temporary sporting director and was hands-on in player recruitment and in the doomed appointment of former Brighton boss Potter.

Lampard said he had enjoyed working with Winstanley and Stewart and that the pair have created a working environment around the club to help his successor succeed.

The new manager’s first job will be trimming a bloated first-team squad before setting about making up a gap to the top four that could hit 30 points this campaign.

“The dialogue has been really good from the moment this opportunity came up for me,” Lampard said. “I’ve been able to get on well with them on a personal and professional level and it’s nice to have that close communication.

“Working in this job you understand when you don’t have communication on the footballing side, you miss it. With both of them, Paul and Lawrence, I’ve had that in their own ways and that’s been a good thing and I appreciate that.

“Their big job is to bring Chelsea back to where we want to get it to. The responsibility isn’t all theirs but they play an important role in it. I’ve been impressed by how our interactions have been and I wish them well going forward.

“There’s a real alignment of thinking through (successful clubs). Where we are at the minute, that would be the work process of trying to see where are we aligned and where do we want to get to and what does it look like? There’s a lot of work in that and in Paul and Laurence we have good people to do that.

“It’s hard in the modern world because everything’s very reactionary. If you want to go in a certain direction and you don’t get any joy for a while, people react to that. For Chelsea it has to be a longer picture than that to get us a bit more of a process. People have to stick with that along the way.”

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    Kansas City – Johnny Russell

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    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

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