Before replacing the man he regards as a ‘true legend’, Thomas Tuchel had some concerns over Chelsea’s decision to sack Frank Lampard.
Thomas Tuchel has admitted that he questioned the Chelsea board’s decision to sack a ‘true legend’ in Frank Lampard.
The German replaced Lampard as head coach in January following a dip in form. Chelsea had reached the Champions League knockout stages again comfortably and progressed in the FA Cup, but results suffered. The Blues were down in ninth in the Premier League despite their big-money signings. With this in mind, the board acted swiftly by changing managers.
The decision to drop Lampard, a club legend in his own right as well as Chelsea’s goal-scorer, didn’t go down well. Even Tuchel, who had recently left Paris Saint-Germain at the time, had doubts.
“I actually said to the board, ‘are you sure of doing this? Because they will not like you,” Tuchel told Sky Sports. “Maybe he deserves more time.’ Because when I think of Chelsea I think about Frank Lampard, John Terry, Petr Cech, Didier Drogba.
“I think about him in the very first moment because he embodies everything that Chelsea is: hard work, aggressive player, big leader, but at the same time a normal guy on the pitch and such a team player. A true, true legend.
“But I clearly understood the choice was more or less made and it was take it or leave it. Then I hoped for a fair chance with the players because when you step in, there is not everybody happy from 20, 22 players.
“You cannot expect everybody to be happy with the manager gone, especially because he had a good [Champions League] group stage, good results, good performances and sometimes he was also simply unlucky, with what the data showed to us.
“But I said very early, ‘listen guys, I did not push him out. I am just here now to continue in my way and let’s try to be open and give us a chance together.’ I am in a top club with fantastic support, super organized, and a strong group on the field. It’s a pleasure to work every day, and it’s like this since day one.”
Thomas Tuchel on Frank Lampard:
'When I think about Chelsea I think of Lampard, Terry, Cech, Drogba. I think about Lampard. He embodies everything that Chelsea is with hard work, aggressive player, big leader, but at the same time a normal guy.'
'A true, true legend.' pic.twitter.com/qyz373kTBr
— Felix ⭐️⭐️ (@cfc_felix_) August 22, 2021
How has he fared compared to Lamps?
In 84 games, Lampard achieved 44 wins, 15 draws, and 25 defeats. The 43-year-old led Chelsea to an FA Cup final and a Premier League top-four finish in his only full season in charge in 2019/20. It was a decent effort, considering FIFA’s transfer ban prohibited the club from making any signings.
Lampard’s biggest contribution, though, was laying out the foundations for the next generation. He developed a strong squad with home-grown talents, such as Mason Mount and Reece James, right out of the academy.
Tuchel, meanwhile, guided Chelsea to Champions League glory in just four months. The German helped seal a top-four finish in the Premier League, as well as another FA Cup final appearance. With Romelu Lukaku returning for a club-record fee, he aims to challenge for league success this season.
Tuchel, who has won 21 of his 32 matches in charge of Chelsea (D6 L5), is preparing his side to face Arsenal on Sunday.