Chelsea: Lampard insists job isn't under immediate threat
Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia and the rest of the club’s board are said to be “really disappointed” with Sunday’s resounding Premier League defeat to Manchester City, which has piled the pressure on to manager Frank Lampard.
Having previously embarked on a 16-match unbeaten run across all competitions, the Blues have now won just one of their last six league games, losing four.
Their struggles see them sat seven points off league leaders Liverpool, who can stretch their lead over Chelsea to nine by beating Southampton at St Mary’s this evening (Monday).
And talk of being title contenders, having gone top after beating Leeds in early December, has dampened around the west London outfit.
Chelsea’s hierarchy are not happy having sanctioned a spend of around £220million in the summer transfer window.
While Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell have all been big hits thus far, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner – who cost around £120m – have failed to truly make their mark at Stamford Bridge.
And Lampard’s position as Chelsea boss is said to be under real threat in the wake of the 3-1 loss to Pep Guardiola’s City.
The Londoners only scored late on against the Citizens and after a bright first 15 minutes found themselves thoroughly outclassed by City on their home ground.
The visitors led 3-0 by half-time through Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne as they blew Chelsea away.
Chelsea now sit eighth, albeit only three points from fourth-placed Tottenham, after that result and the manner of the performance indicated that there is still serious progress to be made.
And Fabrizio Romano tweeted: “Chelsea board always backing Frank in the last weeks – today they’re really disappointed by the performance against Man City #CFC.”
Lampard came out post-match and launched a strong defence of his side, insisting such a period of poor form was always to be expected.
He said: “I’m not concerned on that point or being relaxed about whether we can have peaks or troughs, I’ve just spoken about where we are at. I expected periods of difficulties this year.
“I said it when we beat Leeds and everyone was championing us to be title contenders. I know it doesn’t come that easy. I know where we are at. Whether it puts pressure on me or not is regardless.
“One month ago everyone was asking whether I’d sign a new contract, now people will be saying different things because in quick succession over a tight busy period we’ve lost four games of football.
“So the pressure remains constant in this job and you know in tough moments that will be there. I didn’t get into this job being unaware of that. My job is to keep working.
“My job is to try to lift the players who would have felt that in the first half. they would have felt the differences of City and their receiving of the ball and individual abilities to take the ball in tight areas.
“We are fighting to try to match those levels and I know it takes time.”
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Asked about whether the club’s hierarchy would understand that his squad need more time to gel, Lampard continued: “I am not going to speak for people above me because I can never do that.
“That’s why I could answer a month ago about me getting a new contract, I can’t answer what they’re thinking about now but it is what it is.
“There is never going to be an absolute trajectory that goes up and up and up. So maybe we had 16 games unbeaten, great, I still saw flaws. When we lost four games in quick succession I see flaws and they are much more evident to everybody.
“It is my job to focus on working on them, not what they’re thinking, that would just distract me and I can’t do it.”
The Chelsea manager also declared: “I am a perfectionist who wants the best for this club. The first person who puts on the pressure is me.
“At times, last year, I wanted to push and be even better than fourth, even though I felt it was an achievement considering the ban and the youth in the squad. This season the 16 game unbeaten run was something I was always trying to temper as it went on.
“At the minute, we are in a tough period. I understand it as I played here for a long time. I understand the minute that you lose a few games in a short period of time then everyone looks and asks questions.
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“Then everyone looks at it differently and says you spent that much money. Well, the reality is that a lot of the players who came in are young, new, have been injured, not played together before.
“I haven’t been able to play [Hakim] Ziyech, [Christian] Pulisic or Timo Werner in the same team. If we are expecting the relationship between them three to be the same as [Raheem] Sterling, [Kevin] De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva today then there are expectations that are not real.
“The expectations after Leeds that we are title contenders was not real. I am real now in saying the club has to take pain for where we want to get to.
“Any build or re-build that we have with the players we brought in takes pain. That means pain on the pitch, pain behind-the-scenes and fight and character. That’s how you build.”
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