Chelsea manager Frank Lamaper looking on from his technical area.
After a short and disappointing six-month stint as Chelsea manager, Graham Potter was sacked as Chelsea looks to turn around their recent underwhelming performances. Shortly after, in that week, Frank Lampard was appointed to finish the season as manager. In his opening interview, he called the opportunity to return to Stamford Bridge “an easy decision,” mentioning his history with the club. Lampard has an impressive 649 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 211 goals, the most in the club’s history. He has previously coached at Chelsea, where he brought them to an FA Cup final in 2020. After having little experience the first time around, Lampard returns to Chelsea with more managerial experience under his belt, following his time at Everton. He cites his commitment to giving fans “what they want” and finishing the season on a strong note.
A chance at one of UEFA’s three major European competitions has seemed to slip away from Chelsea as they find themselves 11th in the Premier League. They have also just been dumped out of the Champions League by Real Madrid, losing 4-0 on aggregate. This situation leaves Lampard in a tough position regarding his goals during his time at the job. While Premier League managers who get brought in late in the season are usually pushing to avoid relegation or make it into the top seven European spots, Chelsea has no concrete ambitions for the end of the season, and considering Lampard’s temporary role, it is hard to predict how he will be perceived by the fans. It seems he has been brought in just to get Chelsea over the line into the summer, when they will try to bring in a permanent manager. Still, though, there is a lot of work that he can accomplish.
So far, Lampard has utilized a 4-3-3 formation in the Premier League, opting for a relatively balanced midfield and attacking fullbacks. This, though, has not brought him success yet, losing his first two games in the league as manager. Despite the lackluster start, fans can still be hopeful as Lampard has in the past shared his focus on being honest and upfront with his players, creating a more cohesive team-oriented environment.
A recurring theme for Chelsea this season is the discontent among fans due to their exorbitant spending in the previous winter and summer transfer windows. Despite this excessive spending, their team needs to perform to the standards expected of them. The fans have been growing increasingly frustrated with this as their hopes of Europe fall further away. While it is unrealistic for Lampard to get them back into European competition, a positive run of form to finish the Premier League could bring hope back to the fans and relieve pressure off the owners.