Did Frank Lampard deserve more time at Chelsea?
Did Frank Lampard deserve more time at Chelsea? The simple answer is NO.
Lampard is a young manager who had just one season of experience before taking charge of Chelsea in 2019. In his one year as Derby County manager he led them to a sixth place finish and they then managed to reach the playoff final before losing to Aston Villa. Lampard had a 42.1% win percentage at Derby, not overly impressive and certainly not enough to justify a jump to a Premier League team that want to be challenging for the major trophies in club football but that's what happened for Frank.
In the Summer of 2019 Chelsea were in limbo as their manager Maurizio Sarri decided to leave the club to become Juventus manager, Eden Hazard had agreed to join Real Madrid and Chelsea were banned from making any transfers during the 2019 summer window. They needed a pick-me up, knowing they were going to be unable to persuade any of the top managers in the world due to the need for the squad to be rebuilt so they went for the cheap, feel good option in club legend, Frank Lampard.
From the outside looking in, it appears that Chelsea gave Lampard a shot during a time that no manager in the world would have been able to do anything impressive with the Chelsea squad as it stood and they also knew that bringing in fan favourite/club legend Frank Lampard would bring a good feeling within their young squad and that fans would be happy to support Lampard no matter how the season went. Which is exactly what happened!
Frank Lampard had a great first season in charge, largely thanks to a core of young academy graduates. They managed to finish in fourth place in the league while also reaching the FA Cup final. Keep in mind this was still a very young team, rebuilding from the team that won the Premier League in 2017. Chelsea lost 12 league games in the Premier League and finished 33 points behind champions Liverpool, they were knocked out in the fourth round of the EFL cup after reaching the final the previous year and they were destroyed 7-1 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League. It was still a very positive first campaign for a young manger taking charge of a rebuild, the chance Chelsea had taken in the summer of 2019 appeared to be bearing fruit.
Chelsea spent big in the summer transfer window after not being able to bring in anybody for the previous year, transfers eventually amounting to over £220 million, so now the pressure was on for Frank to really show if he what it takes to be a top manager just two years into his managerial career. The season began poorly but when the Champions League started, Chelsea's form turned around and by the start of December the club were sitting atop the Premier League and they had qualified top of their group in the Champions league but since they things have gone of the boil. Chelsea have managed just two wins in eight games, dropping to ninth in the Premier League and the players appear to have stopped playing for their manager.
Frank Lampard came into this job as a legendary player but a guy who had done nothing as a manager and he acted like it. During his time as Chelsea manager his stubborn nature and his drive to prove critics wrong by not playing to his teams strengths has negatively impacted Chelsea's performances on the pitch. In reality, most journalists and media personalities did all they could to not criticize Lampard because he is an English, legend of the Premier League, he could do no wrong but he has failed in a number of areas this season. He has failed to figure out his best team, he has failed to smoothly integrate the new signings into the first team squad and often refused to play Olivier Giroud (arguably his best striker) just because he decided when he first came in that Giroud was not the guy and he was determined for Timo Werner or Tammy Abraham to be his starting striker.
Lampard came in to Chelsea with something to prove but he has gone about the complete wrong way, in an effort to earn the respect of his players he brought in an outrageous fines list for his players, see below. While it is important for players to respect the authority of their manager, this is not the way to go about and is a sign of the sour relationship that their seemed to be between Lampard and his former players.
Frank Lampard has not developed a style of play for this Chelsea team in his 18 months in charge, he has not been able to figure out his best team that he wants on the field whenever possible, the new signings are struggling greatly, whether Frank had an input on them or not, and with no reputation to fall back on, Frank was given a test and he had failed.
It is always right to give young managers time but at the same Chelsea have always demanded the best from their managers during the Abramovich era, Frank had the lowest win percentage (52.4%) of any manager of Chelsea during Roman's time as owner, Lampard's legend status as a player should not have an impact on the owners decision to keep him on as a manger.
Frank Lampard was out of his depth and while he will always be a Chelsea legend, he was not the man to lead Chelsea to the top as a manager.