Roman Abramovich knew the decision to sack Frank Lampard was going to fracture the Chelsea fanbase. The strength of feeling towards the club legend meant this was no ordinary dismissal.
It’s why the Russian took the unprecedented step of publicly commenting on Lampard’s departure, something he had not done for the 13 prior head coaches relieved of their duties under his watch.
“This was a very difficult decision for the club,” the Chelsea owner began. “Not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him.
“He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances, we believe it is best to change managers.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, the board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as head coach and wish him every success in the future.
“He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
Lampard’s sacking was indelible proof that Chelsea’s win-now mentality is hardwired. Long-term projects and visions of the future are quickly thrown out the window when results go awry. The insatiable need for success trumps all, ensures everyone is dispensable, even a man regarded as the Blues’ greatest-ever player.
It’s worked for Chelsea, of course. No English club has claimed more trophies since Abramovich purchased the club in 2003. There have been five Premier League titles, two Champions League triumphs, two Europa League wins, and a host of domestic trophies.
Further silverware has been added this season in the form of the UEFA Super Cup. Victory over Villarreal in August was the second trophy won under Thomas Tuchel, who was brought in to replace Lampard in January and enjoyed near-instant success.
Tuchel has transformed Chelsea’s fortunes. When he replaced Lampard in January, Chelsea were ninth in the Premier League table. Eleven games into the current campaign, they sit top by three points and are European
Yet the German knows the realities of the club he works for. The highest standards must be maintained. Otherwise…
“If they are not happy, they will sack me,” Tuchel admitted at his unveiling. “I decided not to worry about that too much and to go to do it, to be brave enough to take this adventure. It’s my character to believe more in the chances than in the risks.”
Tuchel’s decision has paid off. As has Chelsea’s to bring in the 48-year-old. By acting swiftly, the Blues altered the course of their 2021. Not all top Premier League clubs operate with the same decisiveness. Namely, Manchester United.
The Reds have stuck by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season despite several alarming results – a 5-0 home defeat by fierce rivals Liverpool the standout – and going into the international break, United sat sixth in the table and nine points behind Chelsea.
There remains huge pressure on the United board to remove Solskjaer, a club legend and the scorer of a winning Champions League final goal. Yet as things stand, the Norwegian is set to remain in charge, much to the frustration of many within the Reds fanbase.
Some, understandably, point towards the success Chelsea have enjoyed after Lampard’s sacking. But that overlooks a rather key point.
It wasn’t the dismissal of their club legend that transformed the Blues, it was the appointment of Tuchel, undoubtedly one of the best coaches in the world game. There is nobody currently available who could transform United in such a fashion.
Antonio Conte could have, but the Reds dallied and he opted to join Tottenham Hotspur. Now there is no standout coach ready to step in and so the malaise at Old Trafford is set to continue with Solskjaer at the wheel.
Source by Football London