Frank Lampard has been praised by Roy Keane for securing a top-four finish and Champions League qualification for Chelsea this season. The former Manchester United midfielder believes Lampard has done an even more impressive job than Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who guided the Red Devils to third in the Premier League.
Chelsea sealed fourth place with a 2-0 win over Wolves on the final day, with the Blues finishing behind United on goal difference after Solskjaer’s men saw off Leicester by the same scoreline at the King Power Stadium.
Lampard’s men also have a chance of bagging some silverware when they face Arsenal in the FA Cup final this weekend, representing a fantastic return from the 42-year-old’s first campaign in the hotseat at Stamford Bridge.
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Meanwhile, Solskjaer oversaw a 19-match unbeaten run in all competitions to end his first full season as manager at Old Trafford on a high but Keane is convinced Lampard has had a greater impact than the Norwegian.
Speaking on Sky Sports, the former United captain said: “Frank’s probably even done a better job, I have to say.
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“I expect them [Chelsea] to be there or thereabouts, but the way they’ve played, the way Frank comes across, he comes across really well.
“There’s no nonsense about him, he’s made big decisions, he’s brought a lot of young players in, good players, good quality, but they’ve needed an opportunity, they took it.
“They finished in the top four and obviously if they can win an FA Cup, great achievement.
“But as Frank is reminding everybody, he’s not getting too carried away getting in the top four, but it’s huge step forward for Chelsea again.”
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Keane had earlier praised Lampard’s decision to drop Kepa Arrizabalaga for Chelsea’s final Premier League match of the season against Wolves, calling up 38-year-old Willy Caballero instead.
The decision appears to signal the end of the road for Kepa at Stamford Bridge, having become the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he joined from Athletic Bilbao for £71million in 2018.
When asked if he admired Lampard for making such a big decision, Keane said: “Yes and no. That’s Frank’s job.
“His job is to try and make the right decisions for the football club. If that means leaving the goalkeeper out, then you do it. You don’t blink an eye.
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“You’ve got to be brutal, and Frank has. Kepa has lacked that presence as a goalkeeper. If you’re playing for Chelsea, and you’ve got Wolves at home to try and get a positive result to try and get in the Champions League, if you can’t deal with those kind of demands then you’re in trouble.”
Kepa has endured a difficult spell at Stamford Bridge, publicly falling out with former manager Maurizio Sarri in the Carabao Cup final last year before being dropped by Lampard in February after a poor run of form.
The Spaniard was recalled to the starting XI shortly before lockdown but has regularly been made a scapegoat for Chelsea’s leaky rearguard.
Kepa has only managed a 53 per cent save percentage in the top-flight this season and has conceded 47 goals in 33 games, sparking rumours of a return to Spain this summer.
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