Football

Steven Gerrard: Chelsea board should have supported Frank Lampard

The Chelsea board should have given Frank Lampard more time, said Rangers manager Steven Gerrard yesterday, a day after his former England teammate got the sack.

Adding his voice to the chorus of support for the Chelsea legend, the former Liverpool captain said: "I'm disappointed for him. I thought it was a very swift exit on the back of a positive result at the weekend.

"I did think it was an opportunity for Chelsea to really reach out and support him during this tough period, rather than do what they have done.

"But Chelsea have got history for that, so it was no surprise."

Lampard, who had just led the Blues to a 3-1 win over Championship side Luton Town in the FA Cup fourth round last Sunday, had been undone following a poor run in the English Premier League that had seen Chelsea lose five of their last eight matches and slip to ninth in the table.

The British media reported that the writing was on the wall for Lampard, as his relationship with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia had deteriorated.

The Athletic reported that there were clashes over certain decisions.

For instance, he had wanted to offload defender Antonio Ruediger, who was highly regarded by the Chelsea hierarchy. He also wanted to sign West Ham United's Declan Rice, who was released from the Blues academy as a teenager.

There were also question marks over whether it was the board or Lampard who wanted Timo Werner and Kai Havertz - the biggest signings of their £220 million (S$399.8m) summer spending spree.

In a statement, the 42-year-old expressed his disappointment over the sacking, adding: "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."

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho, whose first two EPL titles at Stamford Bridge came with Lampard playing a starring role, said: "I'm always sad when a colleague loses his job and of course, Frank is not just a colleague, he's an important person in my career, so of course, I feel sorry.

"It's the brutality of modern football. When you become a manager, it's something that you have to know."

The bottomline is still about results, said Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

The Spaniard added: "People talk about projects and ideas. They don't exist. You have to win or you will be replaced.

"I am not judging Chelsea's decision. I respect their decision. But our world is to win as much as possible." - AFP, REUTERS

Football