Frank Lampard: Former Chelsea head coach on when he knew he was being sacked

Frank Lampard led Chelsea in 84 games in total, winning 44 and losing 23.

Frank Lampard said he “knew right away” that he had been sacked as Chelsea manager when he woke up to a text message from the chairman.

The former captain lasted for 18 months before being replaced by Thomas Tuchel in January 2021.

“That first message too – I kind of woke up and thought, ‘Let’s go through Instagram’,” Lampard recalls.

He opened up to Gary Neville about his dismissal and his time as head coach on the “Interference” podcast.

Lampard, who is also Chelsea’s top scorer, led the Blues to the FA Cup Final and secured a place in the Champions League in his first season.

However, his team has won only once in their last five league games and the club was ninth in the table when he left.

“I got a letter from Bruce Buck, the chairman, saying ‘Can you pass on the training and come to meet us in the boardroom?'” said Lampard, 43. “

“Once the decision is made, there is no good way to do it.

“It was very friendly. I knew what was going to happen at that time too. Not at that time, but you are grateful for this period, you understand what it was.”

Lampard took over in July 2019 on a three-year contract, replacing Italian Maurizio Sarri as head coach, after leading Derby County to the final of the tournament.

He added, “I was worried about the level of expectations compared to the team and the job at hand. I felt like I was at least transforming, at most rebuilding.”

“At Chelsea he will probably come unless you go and win back-to-back titles and that will never happen.”

Chelsea’s transfer was blocked when Lampard arrived, allowing him to give chances to academy graduates such as Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori.

However, the Blues spent more than £200m on transfer fees over the following summer – signing Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and goalkeeper Edward Mendy.

“We had a big squad and we left out some players,” Lampard said.

“Don’t get me wrong. They won the Champions League last season so it feels like a little bit.

“It’s tough because we have three left players, you can only play one player overall, five centre-backs.

“As time goes by, and the new manager is in there now, you can make changes and trim, but that’s how I felt at the time.”

Lampard also spoke of his decision to drop struggling Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in place of Willy Caballero, but said his “communication with upstairs has always been good”.

“When you know about a £70m goalkeeper you’re going to take off the team, you know it’s not a simple decision,” said Lampard.

“Kepa was going through a tough time, there were no bones in that, in season one I think he would say it himself.

“There has never been a sense of pressure from above which is what I’m trying to say, but it becomes very prominent when you do that and there is a heavy price to the player.”

Signing with Senegalese goalkeeper Mendy led Kepa to drop in the rankings.

“Mendy was a result of that and obviously he’s been fantastic since he’s been at the club,” Lampard added.

Since leaving Chelsea, the former England international, who has made 106 caps, has said he has spoken to “two club teams” as he looked to return to management.

He was closely associated with Norwich City after Daniel Farke was sacked in November, but the Canary Islands He eventually appointed former Aston Villa president Dean Smith.

“Some didn’t feel good about me,” Lampard said, adding that he didn’t want to be “also overly selective” about opportunities.

“If you want to be selective in football and look at any job at face value, there will be good and bad.

“I am fortunate enough to be in a place where I want to work, but I am not desperate for work and want to try to get the right place.”

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