Is there a Blueprint for Patience for Managers?
It has been almost two years since Chelsea decided to hand the reins to a club legend in Frank Lampard. The club was in search of a new manager after the departure of Maurizio Sarri to join Italian champions Juventus. In hiring Lampard, the club put her manager’s, churn to the test given his obvious lack of top-flight management experience. No doubt the circumstances that lead to the hiring of Lampard was unique given that the club was under a transfer embargo and had just lost her best player Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.
Arguably, these circumstances would prove to be difficult for most experienced managers, but the general feeling was that Lampard did a considerably good job in using the academy products with a few just returning from promising loan spells to achieve a top-four finish and a Fa cup finalist. This season, however, is different, as Lampard was backed heavily in the transfer market splashing out more than 200 million Pounds on new playing personnel. Despite this backing, Chelsea has remained plagued with the inconsistency of last season. To put it in better perspective, Lampard has the worst win ratio of any manager under the Roman Abramovich era.
Chelsea’s displays this season have somewhat lacked ideas as Lampard seems unsure of how to use the players at his disposal. Two of his biggest signings Kai Havertz and Timo Werner continue to struggle and it is difficult to just attribute it to the adaptation to a new league. Werner for all his goal-scoring prowess shown at RB Leipzig is not a winger or a wide man as he lacks the basic attributes for that role. For one, he’s no expert dribbler and the expected defensive contributions of playing in this role limit his abilities. But still, Lampard has persisted with him on the wings not partly helped by Chelsea’s injury list. In the case of Havertz, he has had to adapt to Lampard’s system of using two number eights instead of his preferred role as a number ten.
The question that invariably split the Chelsea fan-base is how much time Lampard should be given to turn things around or if a managerial change will be needed to fully utilize the present resource of players at the club. It is no secret that the job of a manager is a cut-throat business, as many will face the chop even when they have not been performing of a sub-standard. This is not the case for Frank Lampard as his tactics and decision making has been called into question these past few weeks. There should be a certain level of development to merit more time been given and Chelsea have lacked that grit to bounce back from the latest slump. An aspect that many acknowledge is Lampard’s development of youth but even that will not count for much if the club does not remain competitive. There are reports of Lampard being giving a three (3) year plan to get Chelsea challenging for trophies but such a plan seems unlikely to be kept given the inconsistency displayed this season.
Against Manchester City, Chelsea was completely outplayed and should have lost by more than the eventual scoreline. Add such performance to the fact that Chelsea are yet to beat a club in the top eight of the table and you see the signs are concerning for a team with lofty ambitions. How much patience can the Chelsea hierarchy and faithful show with the hefty backing Lampard has received with not so much to show for it.? One has to be objective to the fact that a certain level of competitiveness has to be present to warrant more time to turn things around and as we continue to watch the season unfold the sack is almost inevitable if the results do not improve.