Chelsea: Five failings that cost Lampard his job
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Frank Lampard’s time as Chelsea manager may have ended in his sacking, but it appears his influence is still being felt more than five months after he left. The Englishman returned to Stamford Bridge to take of the club where he had so much success as a player in 2019.
But despite leading the club to the top four of the Premier League and to the FA Cup final, he was sacked in January after a poor run of results.
He left with the club ninth in the top-flight, with replacement Thomas Tuchel turning their season around to secure a fourth-placed finish.
The German boss has also led the Blues to the final of the Champions League, where they will face Manchester City on Saturday.
While Tuchel has improved the club’s fortunes, it appears that Lampard’s time in the dugout has helped the current Chelsea boss to hit the ground running.
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When Lampard first took charge, Chelsea had been hit by a transfer embargo that meant he was not able to bring in any new signings.
Instead, the Englishman was forced to turn to the Blues’ academy to bring in reinforcements to a squad that had finished third under Maurizio Sarri the previous season.
The likes of Billy Gilmour, Mason Mount, Reece James and Christian Pulisic were all handed their Premier League debuts by Lampard.
Mount and James in particular have become key players, with the duo playing in 26 and 28 of Tuchel’s 29 matches in charge respectively.
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As well as blooding some of Tuchel’s most important players, Lampard had a further major influence on the Blues.
The transfer business conducted under Lampard mostly saw the Blues move towards signing young, hungry players rather than veterans.
Timo Werner and Kai Havertz both were signed under the Englishman, with the two former Bundesliga stars both under the age of 25.
Lampard’s penchant for placing more faith in youth than his predecessors did means that the Blues have used one of the youngest squads in the Premier League.
In fact, the Blues handed more playing time to stars aged 21 or younger than all but one of their top-flight rivals.
Players in that category played 17.5 per cent of Chelsea’s minutes in the league over the past campaign.
Only Wolves gave their young players more minutes, with the Blues using young players nearly 17 per cent more than Tottenham did.
That suggests that despite Lampard having left more than five months ago, his decision to turn Chelsea towards a younger playing squad has now reaped dividends for Tuchel.
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