• Anna Dugdale

RUTHLESS ROMAN: THE REAL REASONS LAMPARD WAS SACKED AND WHY TUCHEL IS DESTINED TO SUCCEED



Yet another manager has fallen at Chelsea, Blues legend Frank Lampard has been sacked after less than two years in the job. The sacking comes after a lacklustre start to the season for Chelsea, leaving them sat at mid-table in the league.


Lampard has faced some scrutiny this season with the expensive signings of Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz not exactly setting the league alight. The most promising attacking signing has been Ziyech but unfortunately, he has been injured and unable to contribute as much as himself and his manager would’ve desired. Lampard has relied on youngster Mason Mount, who he has a close relationship with after Mount was on loan at Frank Lampard’s managerial debut club: Derby County. However, Lampard’s signing of Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell and Paris Saint Germain defender Thiago Silva have been promising.


A lot of people would argue that Lampard needed more time in the job, a year and a half is not a substantial period of time to judge someone’s managerial prowess. There was an assumption made by many that because of Lampard’s history at Chelsea and the adoration fans had for him, that he would be allowed more time than the average manager. With this only being Lampard’s second club, and a club with substantially bigger expectations than that of his first, it seems unfair that he was kicked to the curb.


However, many would also hold the criticism for Lampard due to the fact that Chelsea spent a large amount of money in the summer to give their manager the players he wanted and thought he needed to challenge for the title or top four. Many managers have not been afforded the same luxury and have outperformed the Englishman this season. Of course, Chelsea have the funds to spend big most seasons, and Lampard was no exception, but for various big money signings to not live up to expectations is always going to be a nail in the coffin for a manager.


Another criticism that the Chelsea board had of Lampard was his blatant insistence to re-sign Declan Rice. Lampard made it abundantly clear that he wanted the English midfielder but Chelsea were not willing to pay West Ham’s asking price of £50-£80 million. He pushed for the signing in the summer and again in the January window, which aggravated the Chelsea hierarchy.


Furthermore, Lampard’s tumultuous relationship with Kepa Arrizaballaga did him no favours as Lampard wanted a new goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy. Kepa was an expensive signing and it seems embarrassing that he fell so dramatically out of favour, especially with his price tag attached.


Chelsea have once again shown their ruthlessness as a club, sacking their record goal scorer, and arguably their greatest ever player, because he has not gifted them results as a manager that are up to their standards. Sentimentality seems to have no place in the minds of the Chelsea hierarchy but arguably, it shouldn’t have a place there. Chelsea have been consistently competitive, even with their revolving door manager policy.


Even before Lampard was sacked, rumours surrounding his future were being circulated. Less than a day after his sacking, his successor had been appointed: former PSG and Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel. Tuchel has good pedigree backing him and is known for being determined, hard-working and particular. Perhaps his critical nature will aid him during his Chelsea tenure as their current position in the Premier League table and state as a club definitely requires perseverance. He’s familiar with a number of pre-existing Chelsea players, having managed both Thiago Silva and Christian Pulisic as well as being a compatriot to both Havertz and Werner.


Whilst Tuchel definitely has the qualities to succeed at Chelsea, it may prove difficult considering the culture at the club. Managers have short periods of time to succeed and prove their worth at the London club, success is demanded. There is little sympathy for failures, that’s not how the club has been successful. Their success has come from their ruthless and demanding nature.


Tuchel has proven himself to be capable of adapting his team’s style of play and system. One of his strong suits has been identifying his team’s strengths and weaknesses and chooses a system that suits them. In most teams that Tuchel has managed, he has always played a single defensive midfielder, something that Chelsea are familiar with. One player that could fit that position is N’Golo Kante, a fan favourite at the West London club. Whilst there are qualities of Tuchel’s teams that are stalemates and will hardly ever change, he sees no shame in adapting his tactics when spotting a weakness in an opposing side. A Chelsea manager that has fallen foul to refusing to change his tactics is Jose Mourinho so Tuchel is already being progressive.


Whilst Tuchel is flexible, he has tended to play out from the back using central midfielders wherever he has gone. At Borussia Dortmund, he did this using Ilkay Gundogan and at PSG, Marco Verratti. This style of play has become more popular in recent times in the Premier League. His teams are often attack-minded which will suit Chelsea, as they have a plethora of attacking talent in their midst. Plenty of their attacking talent are youngsters and luckily for them, Tuchel is renowned for his work with young talent and nurturing them.


Tuchel has to work with a squad that is not his until the end of the season. It is expected that the board will financially back him in the summer transfer window and help him transform the squad into one of his own. Until this time, Chelsea fans remain hopeful that Tuchel can still qualify them to play European football next season.

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