Chelsea have sacked Frank Lampard, with the former Borussia Dortmund and PSG manager Thomas Tuchel set to replace the former Chelsea player at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard was appointed as manager in July 2019 and spent more than £200m last summer on players including Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. His spell, however, came to an end after a disappointing run of results left them off the pace in the fight to qualify for the Champions League.
Chelsea said in a statement: “This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and the board have taken lightly. We are grateful to Frank for what he has achieved in his time as head coach of the club. However, recent results and performances have not met the club’s expectations, leaving the club mid-table without any clear path to sustained improvement.
“There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the club time to improve performances and results this season.”
A 14-game unbeaten run across two months from early October prompted talk of a title challenge but Chelsea’s fortunes have dipped markedly and a 2-0 defeat at Leicester on Tuesday was fresh evidence of their inability to beat the Premier League’s most accomplished sides.
Chelsea beat Luton 3-1 in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday but it was not enough to save Lampard’s job with qualification for the Champions League a key priority. Chelsea are ninth in the league, five points behind fourth-placed Liverpool. Defeats by Arsenal on St Stephen’s Day and Manchester City on January 3rd led to serious doubts over Lampard’s future and the owner, Roman Abramovich, has now decided to act.
The Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, said: “This was a very difficult decision for the club, 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.”
Tuchel, meanwhile, was sacked by PSG on December 24th after two-and-a-half seasons in charge, winning the league twice and taking the team to the 2020 Champions League final, where they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich. Before that he managed Borussia Dortmund for two seasons, winning the Germany Cup in 2017, three days before being sacked after falling out with the board. – Guardian