KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Chelsea have confirmed the appointment of Thomas Tuchel to replace Frank Lampard who was sacked as manager after Sunday’s 3-1 FA Cup win over second tier Luton Town.
Tuchel, 47, has agreed an 18-month contract, the standard service length of any Chelsea manager as demonstrated by Lampard who had returned to Stamford Bridge in July 2019 and, despite a transfer bar, guided the Blues to the FA Cup Final last season and into a qualifying slot for the Champions League.
The club are ninth in the Premier League after a run of five defeats in eight league games before facing Wolves.
Owner Roman Abramovich said: “This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him.
“He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.”
Lampard, in a statement, said he was “disappointed not to have had the time to take the club forward” and added that it had been a “huge privilege and an honour” to manage the club.
He added: “When I took on this role I understood the challenges that lay ahead in a difficult time for the football club. I am proud of the achievements that we made, and I am proud of the academy players that have made their step into the first team and performed so well. They are the future of the club.”
Chelsea’s own comment was: “This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and the board have taken lightly.
“We are grateful to Frank for what he has achieved in his time as head coach of the club. However, recent results and performances have not met the club’s expectations, leaving the club mid-table without any clear path to sustained improvement.
“There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the club time to improve performances and results this season.”
Possibly, if it were not for Lampard’s admirable playing record at Stamford Bridge and the manner in which he managed the complicated 2019-20 season, he would have been replaced at Christmas.
Four defeats in six league games towards the end of December had raised serious doubts about Lampard’s future. which were ultimately not eased by FA Cup progress.
Perhaps he over-achieved last season. But Chelsea spent more than £200m last summer and Lampard’s failure to draw the best out of expensive new signings such as Timo Werner and Kai Havertz counted heavily against him.
Tuchel, their fellow German, may have not only better fortune but, with his experience at this level, greater expertise.