London – The Chelsea hot-seat is starting to feel a little warmer for Frank Lampard after Sunday’s 3-1 home drubbing by Manchester City made it four defeats in six Premier League games.
Lampard’s first season at the helm drew praise with his young side finishing fourth despite a transfer ban meaning he was unable to significantly strengthen his squad.
But after a huge outlay before this season, including the signings of German playmaker Kai Havertz and striker Timo Werner, Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell and Ajax’s Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech, eighth spot is not what was expected after 17 games of the campaign.
A matter of a few weeks ago Lampard’s side were being tipped as title contenders, but things have unravelled quickly and they were outclassed at times by City on Sunday.
Lampard saw many managers come and go during his stellar playing career at Chelsea and knows that even being the club’s record goalscorer does not make him immune from the sack.
But he is not about to start fretting.
I’m not concerned (about pressure),” Lampard, Chelsea’s 14th managerial appointment in the reign of Russian owner Roman Abramovich, told reporters. “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.”
It is highly unlikely Chelsea’s hierarchy would panic at the recent downturn and show Lampard the door, but he does need his side to start firing again soon.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Quite rightly Lampard points to the fact that the likes of Havertz and Werner are still adapting to the demands of the Premier League and need time.
He is also right to point to the fact that Man City’s team was loaded with title-winning players on Sunday, even if Pep Guardiola’s side were weakened by a Covid-19 outbreak.
All the same, he acknowledges that Chelsea 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,” he said. — Reuters