A £230m transfer splurge with nothing to show for it, unrest among the fringe players and humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich… where it all went wrong for Frank Lampard in his dream job as Chelsea manager
- Chelsea have dismissed Frank Lampard after their torrid run of form this season
- The coach becomes another casualty under ruthless owner Roman Abramovich
- Lampard’s tenure had been dogged by several problems that led to his sacking
- Here, Sportsmail has taken a closer look at where it all went wrong for Lampard
Frank Lampard has been sacked by Chelsea after the club’s torrid run of five defeats in their last eight Premier League games.
The rot that has set in this season sees the Stamford Bridge outfit sitting in ninth spot – and former PSG boss Thomas Tuchel is expected to be hired imminently.
Here, Sportsmail‘s DANIEL MATTHEWS takes a look at where it all went wrong for Lampard in his dream job…
Frank Lampard has been dismissed by Chelsea after his team’s torrid run of form this season
It was a strange quirk of Lampard’s spell that his fortunes travelled in opposite directions to Chelsea’s power in the transfer market.
At first, the two-window ban (later halved) which came in last summer obviously made the job less attractive to other, more experienced bosses.
And crucially, it provided a Lampard with a buffer.
Chelsea splashing £230m on new faces, including Timo Werner, put Lampard under scrutiny
The manager enjoyed an impressive first season – keeping Chelsea in the top four with a young, inexperienced side.
But the lack of signings also shielded him from some criticism. That disappeared in the summer, when Chelsea splashed out £230million on new recruits.
One source felt the outlay gave Chelsea the excuse to make a change if – or when – results began to turn.
FAILURE TO RE-SIGN DECLAN RICE
Yes, Chelsea dipped deep into their pockets last summer. But what about those they didn’t bring in?
Lampard was keen to sign West Ham talisman Rice, who could slot in at centre-back or in midfield.
And no wonder, during the manager’s first season, Chelsea’s back line had been a constant headache; Kepa’s failings arguably masked the disjointed unit in front of him.
It’s reported, however, that the pursuit of Rice irked Lampard’s bosses. They are said to have been reluctant to pay big money for a player they had released as a kid, fearing it would look embarrassing.
Chelsea didn’t sign Declan Rice from West Ham out of fear it would look embarrassing for them
STRUGGLES WITH NEW PLAYERS
As it turned out, the Chelsea hierarchy have been left red-faced by some of the signings they did sanction.
Of course Edouard Mendy has been a stabilising influence in goal, while Thiago Silva has added know-how to their defence. The £50m man Ben Chilwell has plateaued in recent weeks but he remains a significant upgrade at left-back.
Further forward, though, Lampard has had issues with three players who cost a combined £180m.
Chelsea’s big money signings have shown flashes of form but largely struggled under Lampard
Hakim Ziyech (£38m) has shown flashes of genius when not dogged by injury.
Timo Werner (£53m) looks a costume of the striker they signed – the goals have dried up and his confidence has disappeared, too.
As for Kai Havertz (£89m), the 21-year-old suffered badly with Covid and has struggled for any kind of form.
There was no shame in losing to Bayern Munich last season. After all, everyone in Europe fell before Hansi Flick’s side.
But the manner of Chelsea’s Champions League defeat was telling.
Across two last-16 legs, they were lucky to lose only 7-1. Lampard himself called the first leg a ‘a harsh lesson’ and the return game in Germany was no less chastening.
Chelsea were fortunate to have only lost 7-1 on aggregate against Bayern Munich last season
It served as a stark illustration of just how far behind Europe’s elite the club had fallen.
That decline was far from Lampard’s fault alone. But the way Bayern toyed with Chelsea’s young side put their development into rather sharp perspective.
Their struggles against the Premier League’s best sides this season have been concerning, too.
ISSUES WITHIN THE DRESSING ROOM
The task of maintaining unity among a bloated squad is never easy. It becomes increasingly difficult when form begins to dip. It is near impossible at a club where politics and player power have long been rife.
Even before recent matches, according to one source, there was a feeling that Lampard’s players fell into camps – those he trusted and those he wasn’t convinced by.
Antonio Rudiger, a big personality in the squad, was among those briefly frozen out earlier this season.
Lampard’s squad fell into two camps – the players he trusted and those he wasn’t convinced by
Other reports on Monday say this resulted in the manager being distant with players – except those he liked. And relations weren’t likely to improve when Lampard publicly slammed his players in recent weeks.
But nor was the manager’s cause helped by Chelsea’s failure to shed more dead wood last summer.
Kepa’s future became a bone of contention, with Lampard keen to replace him but the club reluctant to lose the goalkeeper for a cut-price fee.
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