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Why Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich has a responsibility to support Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard is under pressure at Chelsea
Frank Lampard is under pressure at Chelsea
Mark Pitman
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Modified 23 Jan 2021
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Chelsea head into a thankless FA Cup tie against Luton Town on Sunday as Frank Lampard's future as manager remains very much in the balance.

With a home draw against the mid-table side from the Championship, a comfortable victory for the Blues is not only expected but is an absolute necessity following a run of just one win in their last five Premier League fixtures.

Frank Lampard cut a frustrated figure on Friday as he addressed the media by directly calling out an individual journalist. His behaviour said everything about the pressure that comes with leading a club where the level of expectancy leaves little room for error. Managing Chelsea is an intense experience, and demands of the job are not compatible with longevity.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich demands immediate success
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich demands immediate success

Chelsea, under owner Roman Abramovich, have traditionally shown little patience when it comes to managers. Carlo Ancelotti, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Claudio Ranieri, André Villas-Boas, Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri and José Mourinho have all paid the price for failing to consistently deliver the trophies demanded by the Russian billionaire at Stamford Bridge.

It seems inevitable that Frank Lampard will be sacked by Chelsea at some stage. If anything, it was one of the few guarantees when he took the job; such is the culture of the club that he served so well as a player. His reputation for what he achieved will not be tarnished, and he will remain a club legend regardless of what happens from here on out.

The direct road to Stamford Bridge

Frank Lampard impressed as manager of Derby County
Frank Lampard impressed as manager of Derby County

Frank Lampard dropped down to the Championship with Derby County in 2018 in order to start building his managerial career, and he has successfully made it through to a second season at Chelsea, something a number of his predecessors failed to achieve. They remain in the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League and are potentially two or three wins away from moving back into the top four.

Chelsea spent big in the summer to make up for previous transfer restrictions, with German duo Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, together with veteran Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, headlining the start of a new era. Hakim Ziyech is an exciting addition, Mason Mount is a star in the making, and Christian Pulisic is now realising his potential on the biggest stage.

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Mason Mount has been in excellent form for Chelsea this season
Mason Mount has been in excellent form for Chelsea this season

Replacing goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga with Édouard Mendy was a brave decision from Frank Lampard that said a lot about his credentials to manage at this level. It was a bold move but a necessary switch despite the price tag that weighs heavy on the shoulders of Kepa Arrizabalaga. It was a decision that had to work immediately.

However, Chelsea have now lost five of their last eight games in the Premier League, and it is not an acceptable situation for Roman Abramovich as he looks to ensure that his investment continues to challenge at the very top of the European game.

With Thomas Tuchel currently available and Julian Nagelsmann making a big impression in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig, there are other options to consider.

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Former Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel is available
Former Paris Saint-Germain manager Thomas Tuchel is available

However, Frank Lampard was a different appointment to the long list that had come before him since Roman Abramovich took control. The first former player and club legend to be entrusted with delivering the success that the position demands, the owner has a responsibility to now treat this particular appointment differently.

Different patience for players

Timo Werner is still adapting to the Premier League
Timo Werner is still adapting to the Premier League

Although Timo Werner tops the scoring chart and assists table for Chelsea this season, questions remain over his overall performances and how he has adapted to the Premier League.

Kai Havertz has shown much less in the colours of the club, but the reality is that it will take different individuals a different amount of time to adapt to a new personal and professional environment.

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The investment made in the pair means that they will be afforded the patience necessary to establish themselves in the Chelsea team and to consistently deliver in the Premier League. Allowing for a period of transition is required, and that is exactly why Roman Abramovich has a responsibility to support his manager as he makes his own transition into managing at this level.

Still 42, Frank Lampard is still in the infancy of his managerial career, and it is his reputation as a player over his experience as a manager that has earned him his current position with Chelsea. He must be allowed the time needed to grow into the role, as his managerial ability cannot be questioned at this stage of his own personal development.

While this does not fit with the standard procedure of Roman Abramovich, his appointment of Frank Lampard came with a responsibility to support his manager through this stage of his career.

Arsenal are now being rewarded for sticking with Mikel Arteta during a difficult spell, and this is the level of belief and trust that Frank Lampard now needs in order to progress.

Frank Lampard is determined to succeed at Chelsea
Frank Lampard is determined to succeed at Chelsea

If Chelsea had turned to an experienced manager to deliver success, then the clock would have started ticking from the first day. That is the nature of the game at this level and especially at this club.

Frank Lampard has shown that he can achieve success as a manager at the right club, and there would be no more fitting club than Chelsea for him to eventually deliver.

Published 23 Jan 2021, 16:46 IST
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