Paul Merson retains faith in Frank Lampard and insists it is too early to write him and Chelsea off as title challengers.
Paul Merson remains convinced Chelsea and Frank Lampard are fully in the running for a title challenge.
The Blues will be aiming for a return to winning ways in the Premier League when they make the trip to Fulham on Saturday.
A poor run of only one win in their last six league outings has seen Lampard and Chelsea fall off the pace and down to ninth place.
Such has been the nature of their losses that a report claimed the Blues were already considering another man to replace their beloved former player as manager.
However, it’s important to note that only 10 points separate the top ten sides at this stage of the season.
Given Chelsea’s summer spending spree, Merson admits Lampard should have done better with the squad at his disposal.
However, the crowded nature of the table as it stands means the Blues could still be in the fray for a title challenge.
“If Chelsea don’t beat Fulham, should they sack Frank Lampard? It depends what Chelsea want this year. It’s alright saying: ‘Let’s get rid of Frank’ but who comes in?” Merson said in his column for Sky Sports.
“Do they go back in for Rafa Benitez? If you’re going to bring in Andriy Shevchenko, what’s the difference? It’s the same as Lampard, he hasn’t managed world-class players, and will need time.”
“It’s not like you can bring in a Carlo Ancelotti for a quick fix. Sooner or later, there has to be a plan at Chelsea. You can’t spend £200m and think you’re going to win the league, it doesn’t work like that.”
Merson insists Lampard has done ‘okay’ this season and a realistic achievement would be a top-four finish.
“Lampard did a great job last year, and it’s the first time he has worked with world-class players. Give him a chance.” he added.
“A plan is to be realistic about where they expect to come this season: I would have probably said the plan was to stay in the top four – because they already made the top four not spending £200m last season – and probably be in the title race.”