Football

Chelsea sack Frank Lampard, Thomas Tuchel tipped to take over

Chelsea dismissed manager Frank Lampard yesterday, after a run of five defeats in eight games left them in ninth position in the English Premier League.

Former Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel is the favourite to take over, British media reported.

Lampard had led the club to a top-four finish and the FA Cup final in his debut 2019/20 season as Blues boss, despite a transfer ban. But this season, he paid the price after splurging over £200 million (S$363.4m) during the summer transfer window.

"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," Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich said in a statement.

"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, who won three EPL titles and the Champions League and is the club's record scorer, becomes the 12th Blues manager to be fired since Abramovich took over in 2003.

His points-per-game ratio was the worst among Chelsea managers in the Abramovich era, lower than the much-maligned Andre Villas-Boas.

Yet, for all that, he leaves with Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League, the fifth round of the FA Cup and only five points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.

The 42-year-old's dismissal was criticised by former England striker Gary Lineker.

"Utterly ludicrous after his first bad run," Lineker said on Twitter. "It was always going to need time, given so many new signings feeling their way into a new club. Patience being a virtue is seldom recognised in this sport. They never learn."

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen agreed the new signings will need time to gel.

He said: "Madness. I'm convinced there's been plenty of politics going on in the background for some time at Chelsea. Hardly a surprise as it's always been that type of club." - REUTERS

Football