Chelsea have confirmed Frank Lampard is the new manager of Chelsea, and yesterday he was unveiled to the people as he gave his first ever press conference. ‘This job is the biggest challenge of my career’ said a proud Lampard, as he returns to the club where he achieved legendary status. Will this be a risk to his reputation?
First of all, excitement should be the initial reaction to all Chelsea supporters. Last season had its highs and lows, but many Chelsea fans were left frustrated most of the year, and many wanted a change in the summer. I wasn’t one of these people, but when Mauricio Sarri had an offer he couldn’t refuse back in Italy, we had to look at replacements and whilst there were many names banded about, they were never paired with logic. Jose Mourinho returning for a 3rd time was an absolute no-no, Massimiliano Allegri had already confirmed he wanted a hiatus from football, and Gianfranco Zola perhaps wasn’t ready to step up to the manager’s role. Therefore, Frank Lampard, who had done so well at Derby in his debut managerial season, seemed a no-brainer.
Now, time for the concern. Pessimism follows me like a bad smell, and I cannot be overly happy with Lampard’s status at this club being potential tarnished. As Chelsea fans, we are not the most patient bunch of people, and I do fear for Lampard when everything doesn’t go our way. Lampard mentioned he is ‘not fearful of the downsides’, and demonstrated that Chelsea fans will expect nothing less than success. Lampard is a relatively inexperienced manager, and it could work out like Zinedine Zidane’s first spell at Real Madrid, or it could be like Graeme Souness at Liverpool. Thankfully, Lampard is a man of high intelligence, and knows that if he applies a great work ethic, and aims to be the best, he will achieve it. He won’t anticipate this job being easy because he is so loved here.
Over recent years, at times our players have disrespected our manager, but that could be a sacking offence next season. Keppa may have disrespected Mauricio Sarri and not everyone cared too much about it, but a similar situation won’t be repeating itself in this season. Lampard is the legend, and players will know to side with him, instead of against them, as it would be a losing battle in the popularity contest.
Looking to the season ahead, Chelsea’s objectives are always to win trophies and guarantee a Champions League place. That doesn’t change here, as anything less than a top four place would mean failure. The issue we have is that whilst Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United can strengthen – we cannot. Our transfer embargo has come at the wrong time for Frank Lampard, who also has to deal without last year’s best player. This is the biggest concern for Chelsea fans. How can we cope without Eden Hazard? The Belgian literally carried the rest of the team on his back last season, so it will be interesting to see how Frank Lampard manages this, and how he decides to shape his team.
We are back in pre-season at the moment with friendlies on the horizon, before our first competitive match sees us face Manchester United at Old Trafford on the opening day of the weekend. Then, we travel to Istanbul to face Liverpool in the European Super Cup. Our first match in front of our fans see us face Leicester City the following weekend. Therefore, we have a huge start to the season and its vital that Lampard gets off to a great start. After a bleak couple of weeks, and a fairly drab summer, I cannot wait until the new season starts!