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Lampard deserves more time at Chelsea but knows the drill if slide continues 

https://theathletic.com/2293057/2021/01/05/chelsea-frank-lampard/

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It is safe to assume Frank Lampard knew all this was coming. That if his Chelsea side ever endured a slump in form and slipped off the pace, certainly in terms of Champions League qualification, then the scrutiny would be intensified both from within and outside the club.

Retreat briefly to his inaugural press conference as head coach in the summer of 2019 and, with the chairman Bruce Buck, director Marina Granovskaia and the recently appointed technical and performance advisor Petr Cech all listening intently from the front row, he had been asked whether the hierarchy had stipulated the need for a top-four finish.

“They haven’t, and I don’t think they need to say that,” offered the new man at the helm. “It is very clear that we are a club that, barring a couple of seasons in recent years, has managed to be top four or winning titles. I know there are standards. One of the benefits is I know the club. I understand what is expected.”

So his eyes were wide open coming into the role. He was a player at Stamford Bridge, and a disgruntled one at times, when Luiz Felipe Scolari was ushered out the door after less than seven months in situ, or Andre Villas-Boas dismissed just 256 days into what was supposed to be a long-term project. He saw Roberto Di Matteo, such a popular player in these parts and a manager who claimed the Champions League while in interim charge, summoned to Cobham to be sacked in the small hours of the morning following a flight back from Turin just six months after that glorious night in Munich.

On each occasion, the tipping point had been a run of slapdash form which appeared to jeopardise Champions League qualification, and a lack of faith from those in the boardroom that the incumbent manager could arrest the decline. And, given the recoveries that were mounted after each change had been instigated, the owner could easily argue his decision ultimately proved justified.

Now we are here again with the modern-day team, far from feeling reinvigorated from a summer of frenzied investment, languishing ninth after four defeats in six league games. Yes, that drop off in results had been sharp, crammed into a little over three weeks and preceded by a 17-game unbeaten run across all competitions. Admittedly, the gap to the top four remains a slender and eminently bridgeable three points, even if all but three of the sides above them boast at least one game in hand.

There is also the reality that this is a uniquely congested season which has seen plenty of other top-flight teams endure periods of spluttering form and, as yet, only one manager lose his job. Liverpool’s away form, a trip to Selhurst Park aside, has been far from impressive which was evident once again at Southampton on Monday night. Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur have all suffered their own blips. Arsenal are hauling themselves out of theirs. All those clubs have demonstrated it is possible to recover.

Yet history shows that, at Chelsea, these spasms of poor results tend to have serious repercussions.

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When the team look as aimless and accepting of their deficiencies as they did against City on Sunday, or indeed as they were when succumbing so meekly at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day, those doubts over Lampard’s coaching credentials tend to rear up. A head coach who seemed to have struck upon a system during that unbeaten sequence suddenly feels more exposed as a stop-gap appointment, a restorative figure willing to take on the role amid a FIFA transfer ban, when his side are wilting. “I know it’s not normal that I’m here after one year in management,” he had admitted in that inaugural press briefing. “But I don’t believe a club like Chelsea are going to make a decision simply because of the transfer ban.”

They knew his credentials when they made the appointment. Even so, when the team falter, or the in-game management feels muddled, it must be easy for panic to set in. After all, there is no body of work upon which the hierarchy can fall back for reassurance. Lampard may not be naive on the inner workings of Chelsea, but he is experiencing all this from the dugout for the first time. A season at Derby County in the Championship, when he benefited from the owner’s financial backing but fell just short in delivering promotion, and last season’s fourth-place finish – all the more impressive for the game-time seized by academy graduates – are the extent of his grounding. The problems being flung at him now, with huge sums spent in the market and expectations raised accordingly, represent uncharted territory.

The doubters will question whether he boasts the tactical acumen to thrive, or knows how to coax the best from Timo Werner, a player who has flitted from starting berths centre to flank and now gone 12 games without a goal. Can he find a role in which Kai Havertz, an opportunist signing but arguably a luxury when other areas of the team might have been targeted for strengthening, can flourish? Moreover, can he restore some belief and conviction to the collective?

His vision was always “a team that is aggressive, full of energy, brave on the ball and who move it quickly”. Chelsea have been far from that of late and have struggled too often to strike the right balance in their approach to games against the better teams, overcommitting at one end and underserved at the other. That may be down to the make-up of the playing staff at the coach’s disposal, or the fact this is still a relatively young side even with Thiago Silva and Olivier Giroud in their number. Alternatively, it may be there is no coherent plan in place to ensure progress. To have reached January and failed as yet to have beaten a side in the current top eight certainly feels damning at a club of these ambitions.

All of which might provoke mid-season change, or at least justify the scrutiny now being afforded to potential alternatives in the role.

Yet this was supposed to be a new Chelsea. One that recognised the value of its academy and turned to Lampard, after all the rancour and political division of the Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri tenures, to heal rifts and offer something refreshingly different. They leant on him at an unsettling time and, while he may not have been ready, he still retained their place in the Champions League and reached an FA Cup final. The landscape has changed since in terms of the squad at his disposal. But in this season more than most, given its grim eccentricities, is there not an argument that the hierarchy should back their head coach and offer him the chance to show he belongs?

Lampard has pointed out his is a team in transition, still digesting that lavish rebuild, and there were always likely to be awkward periods en route. Managers backed up with considerably more experience than him might have struggled to secure immediate dividends from this developing side. It took Jurgen Klopp three years to revive Liverpool and, back in September, even he acknowledged that incorporating so many significant signings into a team overnight, regardless of their quality, is no easy task.

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“They have to fit together pretty quickly,” said Klopp as he considered the challenge Chelsea would pose to claim his own team’s title. “It’s not only about bringing quality in. You cannot bring in the 11 best players in the world and just hope a week later they play the best football they ever will play. It’s about working together on the training ground.”

Lampard had no pre-season of note and his team have already played 25 games this term with nine-midweek fixtures inevitably influencing the nature of many of his training sessions. There will have been very little time in which to work on tactical switches, let alone to smooth the basic integration of the new arrivals. Perhaps there should have been better planning how they might have been used from the outset, but if time is the key as Klopp suggested, and the players still buy into his methods, then Chelsea’s head coach – the man who played a part in convincing the new recruits to come by offering a long-term vision of their roles – surely merits longer in the role.

After all, would an interim parachuted in from the outside really be better placed, in this most unsettling of seasons, to instigate an immediate upturn? Is it not likelier that Lampard, with his knowledge of the squad, might implement a recovery?

The writing, of course, may be on the wall regardless in the long term. It is hard to recall a Chelsea manager from the modern era surviving a run of results as miserable as the current sequence. Antonio Conte lost four out of five league games and Sarri three of four, both in the new year, but limped on until the summer even with their respective relationships with the hierarchy fractured beyond repair and a parting of the ways inevitable. Their teams were still hovering in and around the Champions League places and challenging for honours. Lampard’s may be the same and, in that context, he deserves until the end of the season at the very least.

Yet if the owner’s old instincts kick in, nothing that follows will come as a surprise. The current incumbent knows the drill well enough.

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I can't actually believe how well coached we are. Puts it in further perspective when you see the garbage United and Arsenal are spewing. I love the fact Frank isn't so stubborn to try and do it

Very confused, can only assume the ones being somewhat negative did not watch the game? Aside from Dave and Zouma, I thought we played really well against the European Champions. I was shocked at time

Our pressing game was superb, and made all the difference today! 4-3-3 with Mount and Havertz to harass opponents and Kante to sweep up behind...that's the way to go. And we have two bombing

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9 minutes ago, Tomo said:

I don't really get this, we can still be unhappy with the current situation and would still "be here" in such a hypothetical situation (which wouldn't happen, we're too big and generate too much money to dive to those depths now even if Roman did leave).

For me it's all about context, if we have the worst squad in the league then i'd demand a statue of a manager if he gets us 17th, someone finishes 17th with this squad then they're the worst manager in our history.

I dont think any Chelsea fan is happy with the situation -its how the club deal with it is the bottom line. Everyone has there own depth of field and perspective on it. eg were Werner and Havertz Lamard signings ? Maybe he had some input - perhaps the casting vote ? Can the players be blamed for under par performances, or is it all Lampards fault ? Is Morris value for money ? For me theres no way hes up there with Holland.

 

15 minutes ago, Tomo said:

which wouldn't happen, we're too big and generate too much money to dive to those depths now even if Roman did leave).

Dont be so sure -we've been there before :P though being such a cash cow, almost certain a Yank billionaire would buy the club, and ensure profits for himself 

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Roman Abramovich is a model of consistency at Chelsea which is bad news for Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard watched on as his Chelsea side lost their fourth game over the past month and pressure is mounting with Roman Abramovich's patience notoriously thin

https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/chelsea-frank-lampard-roman-abramovich-23261049

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6 minutes ago, Fulham Broadway said:

Everyone has there own depth of field and perspective on it. eg were Werner and Havertz Lamard signings ? Maybe he had some input - perhaps the casting vote ?

They were definitely his signings. It was reported as such after they joined and both even said they joined us because of Lampard, because of the football vision that he sold to them.

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6 minutes ago, Jason said:

They were definitely his signings. It was reported as such after they joined and both even said they joined us because of Lampard, because of the football vision that he sold to them.

Fucking useless cunts ought to start putting a shift in then :D

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51 minutes ago, Fulham Broadway said:

Fucking useless cunts ought to start putting a shift in then :D

Hard to do that when the system only benefits one player. Giroud. 

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5 minutes ago, MoroccanBlue said:

Hard to do that when the system only benefits one player. Giroud. 

There appears to be a growing number calling for a 4-4-2 and I can't say I disagree with the idea ...

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4 minutes ago, Fulham Broadway said:

There appears to be a growing number calling for a 4-4-2 and I can't say I disagree with the idea ...

Or Lampard can coach his players to actually play through channels instead of pinging it wide every time...

Bruno Fernandes and Salah have played more through balls than our entire team. 

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8 minutes ago, MoroccanBlue said:

Or Lampard can coach his players to actually play through channels instead of pinging it wide every time...

Bruno Fernandes and Salah have played more through balls than our entire team. 

 I would change the formation and would move this group of players back to a 4-4-2 with Kante and Mount in the middle (although I do think Kovacic at his best might be the right partner to Kante) and Pulisic and CHO keeping wide and then Havertz playing the 10 role to Werner at 9. 

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4 minutes ago, Fulham Broadway said:

 I would change the formation and would move this group of players back to a 4-4-2 with Kante and Mount in the middle (although I do think Kovacic at his best might be the right partner to Kante) and Pulisic and CHO keeping wide and then Havertz playing the 10 role to Werner at 9. 

So essentially a 4231 with Havertz as a CF or CAM. 

I agree with you, but again, means nothing if Lampard wants to continue the pinging it out wide approach. 

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Since we are basically in the 'pray and hope' territory with Lampard, I hope that he and his coaching staff will take these two free midweeks to reassess things and try to change things up - the formation, how we attack, how we press etc. If he still intends to stick with 4-3-3, play players in the wrong role/position, keep persisting with what hasn't been working, then the inevitable will come very soon for him. And for the love of god, stop overtraining the players and tiring them out before the match even begins! 

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3 hours ago, Fernando said:

It might be more like Lampard comparing to Ole. 

Lampard is nowhere near Klopp, but more like in the class of Ole. 

And right now Ole got his team on points with Liverpool.....But how Ole got to there is a whole different discussion. 

Well if you want to be really specific, Lampard is nothing like any of the other coaches in the PL right now

Ole at least had experience relegating a team, and Arteta was an assistant manager.

He has the least experience. Which is why I say his achievements last season were remarkable given the circumstances.

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2 hours ago, Jason said:

They were definitely his signings. It was reported as such after they joined and both even said they joined us because of Lampard, because of the football vision that he sold to them.

As I said Lampard should be like the director or something like that. He has done good with the signings. 

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3 minutes ago, Fernando said:

As I said Lampard should be like the director or something like that. He has done good with the signings. 

Lampard should probably be a politician really. He tends to say the things you want to hear or always says the right things but then does the opposite with his actions.

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1 hour ago, Fulham Broadway said:

 I would change the formation and would move this group of players back to a 4-4-2 with Kante and Mount in the middle (although I do think Kovacic at his best might be the right partner to Kante) and Pulisic and CHO keeping wide and then Havertz playing the 10 role to Werner at 9. 

Lampard SHOULD use the upcoming matches against Morcambe and Fulham to test new tactics and formations, instead of trying to fix his broken 433 formation and wing play tactic. It might be the only time he gets to do it as Chelsea manager.

 

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1 hour ago, Jason said:

Since we are basically in the 'pray and hope' territory with Lampard, I hope that he and his coaching staff will take these two free midweeks to reassess things and try to change things up - the formation, how we attack, how we press etc. If he still intends to stick with 4-3-3, play players in the wrong role/position, keep persisting with what hasn't been working, then the inevitable will come very soon for him. And for the love of god, stop overtraining the players and tiring them out before the match even begins! 

Well, for a start. He seems to have given them a couple of days off following the City defeat.

Hope it wasnt to whip them into shape after they return

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Just now, Blue Armour said:

Well, for a start. He seems to have given them a couple of days off following the City defeat.

Hope it wasnt to whip them into shape after they return

Nothing new. He has given the players 1 day or 2 days off this season before, when the schedule allowed it (e.g. after the West Ham game). The main issue is what he does when they return to training. We had pretty much a free week between the recent West Ham and Arsenal games, for example, and look what happened.

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Can the people who spent all of last season comparing Lampard and this side to Klopps Liverpool and Peps City now see how idiotic these comparisons were? 

Its embarrassing that even the Athletic keep seeming to drag that comparison in and mentioning time. They forgot that those sides had clearer identities and styles regardless of results and trophies. Its not as if Lampard has years of experience or achieved a tenth of what those guys had to even warrant those comparisons. Plus this squad has world cup winners, premier league winners, domestic cup winners, champions league winners etc. This project talk after spending 200m on genuine top players/top talents is infuriating. And for a club as successful as we’ve been since the 2000s, its frankly embarrassing at times. I wonder if those who went for AVB after those 7 or 8 months can see the stark similarities in Frank being so out of his depth...

24 minutes ago, Blue Armour said:

Well if you want to be really specific, Lampard is nothing like any of the other coaches in the PL right now

Ole at least had experience relegating a team, and Arteta was an assistant manager.

He has the least experience. Which is why I say his achievements last season were remarkable given the circumstances.

Was his achievements last season really remarkable? We were pretty much dead set for top 4 before December with like a 12 point then collapsed and limped to 4th place. Hardly remarkable. If this is remarkable then the standards have dropped hugely. I get there was a transfer ban but its still hardly remarkable. Man United leap frogged us. We finished third the season beforehand. I think the collection of us who were severely unimpressed last season have every right to say nothing Lampard has done in terms of achievement here has been remarkable. Finishing 4th with that squad after being what 12 points ahead before 2020, limping there sealing it on the last day, where has the standards gone here?

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2 minutes ago, OneMoSalah said:

Can the people who spent all of last season comparing Lampard and this side to Klopps Liverpool and Peps City now see how idiotic these comparisons were? 

Its embarrassing that even the Athletic keep seeming to drag that comparison in and mentioning time. They forgot that those sides had clearer identities and styles regardless of results and trophies. Its not as if Lampard has years of experience or achieved a tenth of what those guys had to even warrant those comparisons. Plus this squad has world cup winners, premier league winners, domestic cup winners, champions league winners etc. This project talk after spending 200m on genuine top players/top talents is infuriating. And for a club as successful as we’ve been since the 2000s, its frankly embarrassing at times. I wonder if those who went for AVB after those 7 or 8 months can see the stark similarities in Frank being so out of his depth...

Are you really surprised that the English media are finding excuses for Lampard? I mean, The Athletic just published another puff piece to defend Lampard today. The English pundits and journalists have been trying to make excuses for Lampard while they are also the same ones who have tried to hound Solskjaer out of Man United after every bad result. 

Have yet to see a single good take on why Lampard deserves to stay in the job. No one has debated that by addressing the concerns that most fans have about Lampard. People who are still in the 'Lampard In' camp are preaching patience for the sake of it or going down the blind hope route, with no good points on why he should still be the manager. 

Maybe Lampard might become a good manager one day but when you look at the managerial career so far, it's kinda crazy how opportunistic or fortunate he has been. He got the job at Derby because his uncle Harry Redknapp knows the owner. He then got the job here because of circumstances - club legend, fans unrest after Sarri, transfer ban - and arguably the only reason why he's still in this job now is because of the lack of a good alternative and he's being given time to turn things around because of it. 

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