Sacked at a 9am Monday meeting with chairman Bruce Buck and director Marina Granovskaia, Frank Lampard didn't say his goodbyes to his Chelsea squad
Tuesday 26 January 2021 22:00, UK
Chelsea have named Thomas Tuchel as their new head coach after sacking Frank Lampard on Monday. Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol chronicles the last 24 hours of Lampard's reign at Stamford Bridge...
Lampard's status as the club's record goalscorer and fan favourite could not save him from becoming Roman Abramovich's 10th managerial sacking, even if the Russian acknowledged this was no ordinary decision as he made the rare step of issuing a personal statement of thanks to the outgoing man.
Lampard - who won three league titles and the Champions League with Chelsea as a player - followed with his own statement, expressing disappointment that he was not given more time this season to take the club to the "next level".
“It has been a huge privilege and an honour to manage Chelsea, a club that has been a big part of my life for so long. Firstly, I would like to thank the fans for the incredible support that I have received over the last 18 months. I hope they know what that means to me.
"When I took on this role I understood the challenges that lay ahead in a difficult time for the football club. I am proud of the achievements that we made, and I am proud of the academy players that have made their step into the first team and performed so well. They are the future of the club.
"I am disappointed not to have had the time this season to take the club forward and bring it to the next level. I want to thank Mr Abramovich, the board, players, my coaching team and everyone at the club for their hard work and dedication, especially in these unprecedented and challenging times. I wish the team and the club every success for the future.”
Attention has turned already to his successor ahead of Wolves' visit to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night, but Lampard will be considering his next move following his 18-month reign as Chelsea head coach.
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol provides a detailed account on how the club parted ways with the 42-year-old...
"Lampard knew he was under pressure. He had been reading and hearing what was being said in the media, and on Monday morning he was making his way to the training ground when he was asked to attend a meeting at Stamford Bridge with director Marina Granovskaia and chairman Bruce Buck.
"At that meeting, he was told that he'd lost his job so he didn't get a chance to say goodbye to the players personally at the training ground. He lives about a five-minute drive away from Stamford Bridge so it was more the logistics of getting to Cobham.
"The players got a WhatsApp message saying don't come to training until the afternoon so there wasn't anyone at the training ground in the morning to say his goodbyes to anyway. Granovskaia then spoke to the players at the training ground on Monday to explain what was happening.
"As far as he was concerned, he would've liked to have been given more time, and he still has a lot of belief in his own abilities and he felt he could turn the situation around. He was told in the summer that finishing in the top four wouldn't be good enough.
"He was told that Chelsea needed to bridge the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City and be in a position to challenge for the title. That just hasn't materialised and the club feel that Tuchel will get more out of these players than he could.
"They felt that if they didn't make the change, the season would drift away into mediocrity, having a fight on their hands to finish in the top four and would probably be knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid.
"The decision was difficult because it was Lampard, but easy because of what was happening on the pitch.
"Lampard lost his job because the board were very concerned by results and performances, especially the fact that he has the worst points per game record of any manager in the Abramovich era.
"The board could not see a way for Lampard to reverse the negative direction of travel. The board were very concerned about the lack of confidence, form and momentum.
"The decision to appoint Lampard in the first place was made by the heart, when they usually make appointments using their heads - and that's what they've done with Tuchel. But I've been told that Frank took the news like an ultimate professional.
"He knows what this game is about and he could see what was coming. I think he was a bit shocked that it happened on Monday morning, but he's been in the game a long time and he's seen a lot of managers lose their job at Chelsea.
"His points-per-game record is a statistic that we see quite a lot and I feel it did contribute to him losing his job. I was told that the Chelsea board were very aware of this record. To be fair to Frank, I think there's quite a lot of reasons why that was the case.
"Behind the scenes, there were problems between Lampard and some of the players, but that's bound to happen when you've got a squad as big as Chelsea and some players aren't featuring regularly.
"Harry Redknapp made a really good point on Sky Sports about the summer signings. Although Lampard was happy to have them in his squad, they weren't necessarily the players he would've chosen. The spending spree was all about the fact that prices had dropped as a result of the pandemic and Chelsea hadn't spent money for a couple of transfer windows.
"Abramovich has very deep pockets so he spotted an opportunity in the market to buy the best young players in Europe. There wasn't necessarily a targeted approach to solving the problems that Frank felt he had in his squad.
"He wanted Ben Chilwell, he wanted another goalkeeper and he wanted another centre-back, but most of the big money was spent on Werner and Havertz instead of signing a Virgil van Dijk-type defender or Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who'd have cost £100m.
"I think it was very telling that in his statement he said he'd given a lot of game time to players from the academy - something that Chelsea managers in the past haven't done. He said that these young players were the future of the club.
"He made it clear that he wanted more time and from his point of view, his big regret is that he lost his dream job. At the end of the first batch of bad results, this was the first bad run that he had as Chelsea boss but it's the way that the club operate that you don't have much time to turn things around.
"Frank knew what he was letting himself in for from day one, he knew that if results weren't going well for a sustained period of time, he would likely lose his job. He spent 13 years at Chelsea as a player, and during that time he worked under 10 different managers and won 11 trophies.
"I know what Chelsea do is brutal and ruthless, but since Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003, no English club has won more trophies than Chelsea. This policy of making changes as soon as things go wrong has paid off for them. Everyone in football has sympathy for Lampard, but the club have had success operating in this way.
"Abramovich always wants the best available manager, and that's what he's had in the past. However way you look at it, Lampard is not yet an elite-level manager. At the level of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, the only available manager is Thomas Tuchel."
"Time is running out for Chelsea to sign anyone, regardless of the arrival of Tuchel. I don't think they really need to sign anyone. The managerial change could have an effect on some of the players at the club. For instance, someone like Antonio Rudiger could feel like they've been given another chance. He may be delighted that Tuchel has come in.
"Some of the players who haven't featured like Marcos Alonso could now feel like they've got another chance. Other players who have been frozen out could come back in. He's previously tried to sign Jorginho at PSG and he's managed Christian Pulisic before at Borussia Dortmund so he knows some of these players.
"Being German, he may be able to get more from Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, but I'm not hearing that they will look to make signings this month.
"It's more a case of players leaving than players arriving."
Sky Sports' Nick Wright:
Of the various factors that contributed to Frank Lampard's demise at Chelsea, his inability to get the best out of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz will go down as one of the biggest.
The Germany internationals, two of the brightest young attackers in Europe, were the headline additions in Chelsea's summer of spending, arriving at Stamford Bridge for a combined cost of around £120m from RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen respectively.
In 35 Premier League appearances between them under Lampard, however, they provided just five goals and six assists, their struggles intensifying as the season wore on. Werner has not scored a Premier League goal since November. Havertz's barren spell goes back even further.
The winter transfer window is open until Monday February 1 at 11pm.
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