Roman Abramovich’s hire-and-fire culture cost me trophies... now Chelsea must change, says Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard has urged Chelsea’s owners to end the club’s culture of hiring and firing managers, revealing for the first time his belief that Roman Abramovich’s approach cost him trophies.
The club legend won three league titles as a player and is back at Stamford Bridge as the fourth manager to pick the team under the new Boehly-Clearlake ownership group this season.
As a season of chaos nears its end, the Blues are 12th in the Premier League after making 18 signings at the cost of over £600million to bloat the squad to an unmanageable 32 players.
While many fans have yearned for the more successful years of Abramovich’s tenure, Lampard has insisted that constant changes in the dugout held the team back.
He told reporters: “I was always part of the Chelsea team that changed managers regularly.
“With casual hindsight, it is easy to say I had great success. I won three [league] titles but I should have won five or six.
“That’s my feeling, if we’d had more consistency and been able to work in one direction, and I feel like we should have done.”
Arsenal, who Chelsea face on Tuesday night, gave Mikel Arteta almost three seasons to turn his side into title challengers in a patient approach that Lampard has urged the Blues to take.
He said: “If you are trying to work for something, you look at the successful models at the top end of the league at the minute and you see managers that have been working in there a long time, recruitment that is aligned with the type of squad and identity they want to bring and it works in a direction.
“You see [Manchester] City, Liverpool and Arsenal. So clearly, if you want to get there it’s something that hopefully aligns. At the moment for us, it hasn’t.”
Mauricio Pochettino could be appointed this week after protracted negotiations around his expectations, staff and support structure in west London.
The 51-year-old is in talks to lead the club from pre-season while leaving caretaker manager Lampard in charge for the last six matches, four of which come against the top four.
With such difficult games to come, Lampard believes the decision makes sense: “We are at that stage of the season now where we understand that we are not going to get into Europe, and other managers are probably going, ‘I’ll take a look at this and wait until pre-season when I can enforce what I want to do’.
“It’s not silly on their part - we’ve got the top four in the run-in and that is going to be a difficult process of games.”
It could, however, see club record goalscorer Lampard damage his reputation as a manager. He was sacked by Everton in January and has lost each of his five matches.
Lampard isn’t troubled by the criticism however, adding: “I knew that within five days of coming back, we were playing Real Madrid away. And also you look at the games we had in the early stages – Wolves we had a day’s prep and then Brighton and Brentford are two really difficult opponents.
“I was aware of that and I don’t think you can live your career considering those negatives and what they might mean.
“My footballing playing career has given me a level of comfort that I don’t have to be concerned about. I just have to take decisions and enjoy working.
“I am not concerned at that. I want to win games now but I am not thinking ‘what might this mean for me?’, I can’t overthink that one.”