When it is not your day, it actually is not your day, so Chelsea supervisor Frank Lampard was entitled to a rueful shake of the pinnacle when misfiring striker Timo Werner made such a multitude of taking an 88th-minute nook in opposition to Manchester Metropolis that he kicked the flag as a substitute of the ball.
Werner, the £47 million ahead, has now gone 12 video games with out a aim for his new membership after Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge. His ordeal has began to personify Lampard’s difficulties within the Chelsea scorching seat.
Werner simply cannot catch a break and neither can Lampard. Confronted with a Metropolis staff that was lacking 5 first-team gamers due to optimistic COVID-19 checks in current days, this was Chelsea’s likelihood to finish a run of only one win in six and declare a primary win in opposition to a fellow Large Six facet this season.
However Pep Guardiola’s weakened Metropolis, with United States No. 1 Zack Steffen making his Premier League debut in aim rather than the unavailable Ederson, ripped Chelsea aside in a devastating show of slick, attacking first-half soccer. On the identical time, they underlined their standing as the most important risk to Liverpool within the title race and left Lampard within the uncomfortable place of being the favorite to develop into the following top-flight supervisor to lose his job.
It might be harsh to assume that Lampard is combating to keep away from the sack as supervisor after simply 18 months in cost, however proprietor Roman Abramovich has at all times been swift to behave when outcomes fail to stay as much as expectations. Even with Lampard’s standing as a membership legend, he will not be proof against the Russian’s impatience.
“I performed right here, I perceive how everybody appears and asks questions once you lose a couple of video games,” Lampard mentioned. “I’ve to be a realist. This membership has to take some ache earlier than we get to the place we wish to be, that is the way you construct.
“This can be a tough interval. However we now have to maintain combating and I am the primary one to maintain combating.”
Defeats and performances like this definitely will not assist Lampard, although, particularly when confirmed managers corresponding to Massimiliano Allegri and Thomas Tuchel are out of labor and able to inform any membership proprietor of the trophies they’ve received with a few of Europe’s largest golf equipment. The pedigree of Allegri and Tuchel is on the coronary heart of the issue that Lampard should overcome, and it was emphasised by Guardiola’s influence on this recreation.
Allegri and Tuchel have been there and carried out it in relation to motivating and organising high gamers, however Lampard hasn’t. Previous to arriving at Chelsea in the summertime of 2019, he had amassed one 12 months of managerial expertise with Derby County within the EFL Championship.
Jurgen Klinsmann explains why Manchester Metropolis’s high quality would not at all times present prefer it did in opposition to Chelsea.
Abramovich has historically appointed managers of the very best calibre since shopping for Chelsea in 2003. Jose Mourinho, Carlo Ancelotti, Antonio Conte and Rafael Benitez had all received the most important prizes earlier than taking cost at Stamford Bridge.
Guardiola was the one which bought away for Abramovich, with the Spaniard twice resisting Chelsea curiosity previous to taking cost at Bayern Munich in 2013, however this was a recreation which confirmed simply why the Metropolis supervisor is among the many finest on this planet.
With a depleted squad, Guardiola nonetheless managed to discover a solution to beat a full-strength Chelsea facet, with Kevin De Bruyne impressing within the uncommon position as a false 9. However Metropolis did not simply win, they received with model and assurance.
Manchester United could have climbed into second spot within the desk, however Metropolis are the staff that Liverpool will concern most this season. Solely two groups have the power to go on a run of 10-12 consecutive victories and they’re Metropolis and Liverpool, so do not even take into consideration writing Guardiola and Co. off.
“Identical supervisor, identical backroom workers, the gamers are the identical and the concepts are fully the identical,” Guardiola mentioned after the sport. “The best way we received leagues and titles and different issues is the best way we performed right this moment. The tempo we now have missed prior to now, right this moment we recovered it.”
Metropolis’s first-half targets, from Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and De Bruyne, had been all rooted in dangerous Chelsea defending, however Metropolis’s ruthlessness noticed them capitalise on the probabilities. On the identical time, Lampard watched from the touchline, despairing at his staff’s woeful defending and toothless attacking. However he’s the person tasked with getting the perfect from his group of gamers and there’s no query that they’re underperforming.
So can Lampard make a distinction on the coaching floor and switch his staff round? Does he have the teaching potential of a Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp or Jose Mourinho to arrest Chelsea’s droop?
The fact is that he’s but to point out that the reply to both query is ‘sure.’ This season, Chelsea have scored simply twice in 5 video games in opposition to Large Six rivals and received none of them. Every time, Lampard has been unable to plot a plan to win. And even in opposition to a Metropolis staff weakened by gamers out due to COVID-19, he nonetheless ended up on the unsuitable facet of a heavy defeat.
“On the minute we’re in a bit interval, 5 or 6 video games that we have struggled,” Lampard mentioned. “In the event you return to Metropolis and Liverpool of their transition durations, there have been durations of ache and it’s important to get by means of that.
“I’ve sat there and had today after which lifted a trophy on the finish of the 12 months. We bounced again then as a result of we had a spirit within the dressing room and any participant in soccer may have durations like that.
“Another defeats for different groups have been painful. Now we have to take it on the chin. That is soccer.”