Frank Lampard's Chelsea have won only three of eight Premier League games, with the manager saying: "[My future] is not my decision, that's something that will always be there. You always understand some things are beyond your control."
Wednesday 20 January 2021 11:19, UK
Frank Lampard defended his "transitional" Chelsea side's form but said he was unsurprised his future would be questioned after a fifth defeat in eight.
Lampard's Blues are nine points off the Premier League summit after a 2-0 defeat to Leicester on Tuesday night, with their hosts top of the table while his own team sit eighth - sandwiched between West Ham and Southampton.
That comes despite the club spending more than £200m on transfers in the summer, and with a title challenge looking a realistic aim little more than a month ago.
Since then, seven points from eight games have left them woefully short of form.
Asked about his future, Lampard told Sky Sports: "It's not my decision, that's something that will always be there. You always understand some things are beyond your control. Things you can control are going again, lifting the players and working hard. That, I can't answer.
"It intensified for me a while ago - expectations at this club, right or wrong, are always high. I know we're in a different position if you look at our squad today and the age in our squad, and look at the composition of our squad, it's a new squad. I keep talking about transition, but when you perform like that it's normal that people ask questions."
Chelsea had been within touching distance of the top of the table before back-to-back defeats to Everton and Wolves sparked an alarming run of form, something Lampard himself admitted had left him taken aback in the space of just 40 days.
"I'm worried," he admitted. "From the form we were in to get so quickly into the form we're in, even with the Fulham win, we should be better than that. Five losses in eight, that's not where we want to be, it's going to take a lot of character to return from that.
"They were sleeping moments, but there were quite a lot in the first half where our sharpness wasn't there. Sometimes that relates to poor form, but those are moments where you have to dig in. The basics and the bare minimums are to run, sprint and cover ground - too many of our players didn't do it."
Jamie Redknapp said there were a "lot of things to not like" about Chelsea's performance at the King Power Stadium but said replacing Lampard as manager would be a poor decision from the club hierarchy.
He told Sky Sports: "I hate to use the word project, but when you bring in lots of new players, it's almost like you're a kid in a candy shop. You've got all the players, but where do you play them, how do they fit in, players coming from another country you hope will hit the ground running - Havertz and Werner haven't - you can't legislate for that.
"This will upset Frank more than anything, because he was as hard-working a player as I've ever seen, it's that one or two of them are a little bit soft. You never want to be labelled as a soft team, a team that doesn't run enough, work hard, win battles.
"That can come down to confidence, but one or two of them are just doing enough and you can't do that when playing for Chelsea. They've had a situation where managers come and go, you can't fault it because they've done so well out of it.
"There's always pressure, Frank knows that. He knew going to a club like that, if you have a bad run, because he's Frank Lampard, it doesn't mean anything. They'd be mad to not give someone time when you bring in all these new players, you can't just have knee-jerk reactions. Things aren't good right now, you can't deny it. But they will improve given time, someone will get the best out of this squad. I think Frank, because of his knowledge of the game and how he sees it will get it right."
Leicester have not been top of the Premier League this late into a season before - except once. That time, less than five years ago, they went onto win the title in one of the most historic campaigns in living memory.
After their latest victory on Tuesday night, they sit top of the pile again, albeit Manchester United and Manchester City could both overtake them should they win their games in hand. But manager Brendan Rodgers dismissed any talk of a title challenge as being too early, as his side wrapped up their first half of the season with three points.
He told BBC Sport: "It is still too early. But it shows in the first part of the season consistency has been good and performance levels have been very high.
"This gives the belief to the players. It keeps the momentum going and keeps the concentration. In order to stay there at the top you need desire and hunger and I feel we have seen that from the team."