Chelsea’s fanbase were largely pumped to see the return of club legend Frank Lampard announced last week, something that came out of nowhere in the end.
The club had been interviewing candidates during the start of the same week, and they even saw Luis Enrique face-to-face. Other candidates such as Julian Nagelsmann were spoken to over the phone. Since then, the manager news has quietened off and nothing has yet to advance, and this is because the club have turned to Lampard on an interim basis until the end of the season, giving them some more time to appoint the right permanent candidate in the summer.
Could Lampard get the Chelsea job full-time?
Could Lampard stay? I’m told that he did not come with the intentions to stay short-term, and in his eyes he wants to prove that he can be a contender to get the role on a full-time basis. The club would not rule this out if Lampard has a very good spell from now until the end of the season, especially if he pulls off a miracle and wins the Champions League. We have seen that before of course with Roberto Di Matteo, yet he was still moved on as manager, but I don’t think the new owners would do that if Lampard won it.
The reality is that the club are continuing to assess, consider, and speak to permanent manager candidates for the summer and that does remain the plan. Nagelsmann is frontrunner right now but it’s still pretty open. The club want to mainly concentrate on backing Lampard for now and the rest of the season, and just want to focus on making something of it still.
The club were impressed with Enrique as well, but all parties will take time to consider decisions and options. Chelsea installing Lampard has allowed them more time to do just that.
Lampard has only had two Chelsea training sessions back at the club at the time of writing, and he was thrown straight into the mix in an away game at Wolves, a club who are battling hard to move away from the relegation battle. The Blues lost the game 1-0 and the excitement from the fans after a legend returned to the club just a few days before, soon dwindled.
Could Lampard make changes against Real Madrid?
Lampard changed the formation to his preferred 4-3-3, but I understand that him and his team had also heavily considered sticking with a back three and I’d be very surprised if they don’t revert to that for the Real Madrid game on Wednesday night.
After only having two training sessions, it was tough for Lampard to get his ideas across, and also he has yet to really assess his entire squad. Whilst he did work with some of them the first time around, there are also many new faces in a massively changed squad. Lampard has admitted that he hasn’t had enough time to watch all of Chelsea’s games this season, so he is very much giving them all a clean slate. This brings pros and cons, and some Chelsea fans have already been left frustrated by his first team selection back.
Lampard is caught between a rock and a hard place really and cannot do right from wrong. He needs to get results, and sometimes leaning on experience is the best way to do that. However, a lot of these ‘experienced’ players are also the ones who have been consistently under-performing all season and some could do with being dropped. I’m certain Lampard will see that.
But Lampard is keen to give them all a fresh start right now, and the reason being is that he’s hoping to be here long term, he knows how hard it is to shift players, and he doesn’t want to be in a situation he was in before with a toxic dressing room come the end of his tenure.
At the same time, once Lampard has assessed his squad he will not be afraid to drop players, give other players a chance, and then pick players on merit. Lampard was annoyed during and after the Wolves game, and he used some passionate words at half-time and at full-time to remind the players what it means to play for the badge of Chelsea FC. It will be a tough balancing act, but that is also just one of many problems all managers face.
Who has Lampard been impressed by so far?
Amongst the players that have caught Lampard’s eye so far, one standout is Carney Chukwuemeka, who reportedly earns £100,000-a-week according to Spotrac, which is why I was very surprised not to see him in the squad on Saturday. But it’s very early days, and I do expect to see more of these types of ‘risks’ made by Lampard going forward. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also liked by Lampard and I can see him getting more minutes during the season run-in.
We cannot judge too much or take too much away from Lampard’s first Xl, and the players have welcomed him back with open arms. It was quite a popular choice for him to come in, although many of the players are intrigued to see the long-term future very soon and what manager they will be working under.
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