THOMAS TUCHEL will become Chelsea’s new boss under orders to make them title contenders THIS season.
Club legend Frank Lampard was brutally axed yesterday at 9am because the club’s board felt the team was ‘shot of confidence’.
Thomas Tuchel is set to take over at ChelseaCredit: PA:Press Association
Frank Lampard was sacked by the Blues Credit: Reuters
Director Marina Granovskaia and chairman Bruce Buck delivered Lampard the blow face-to-face at Stamford Bridge and hope to have Tuchel in charge of tomorrow’s clash with Wolves.
Tuchel, 47, succeeds Lampard with Chelsea ninth in the Premier League and five points adrift of the top four.
And the former Paris-Saint Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss is under pressure to produce an immediate revival and catch up leaders Manchester United — who are 11 points ahead of them.
Lampard has been hurt badly by the chop. He said: “It has been a huge privilege and an honour to manage Chelsea, a club that has been a big part of my life for so long.
“Firstly, I would like to thank the fans for the incredible support that I have received over the last 18 months. I hope they know what that means to me.
“When I took on this role I understood the challenges that lay ahead in a difficult time for the football club.
“I am proud of the achievements that we made, and I am proud of the academy players that have made their step into the first team and performed so well. They are the future of the club.
“I am disappointed not to have had the time this season to take the club forward and bring it to the next level.
“I want to thank Mr Abramovich, the board, players, my coaching team and everyone at the club for their hard work and dedication, especially in these unprecedented and challenging times.”
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Blues chiefs have made the decision to fire Lampard because they believe there is enough time left to improve on last season’s fourth-place finish.
Roman Abramovich and his directors want more success from their £220million outlay on new players over the summer window.
Lampard, 42, leaves with the lowest point-per-game record of any of the 11 bosses appointed by Abramovich since he bought the club in 2003.
Performance advisor Petr Cech addressed players before training at 2pm to explain the situation and that was followed up by Granovskaia speaking to them.
The elusive Russian billionaire made a rare statement over the call to ditch the Blues’ 211-goal record scorer.
Abramovich said: “This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him.
“He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics.
“However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.
“I would like to thank Frank for his work as head coach and wish him every success in the future.
“He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished.”
Kai Havertz’s struggles have been one of the key reasons for Lampard’s sackingCredit: Guardian News & Media
Roman Abramovich fired the Blues legend on MondayCredit: PA:Press Association
The failure of £62m winger Kai Havertz to settle into Chelsea is believed to be one of the reasons why Lampard got the bullet.
Relations between the manager and transfer guru Granovskaia and Cech had also become increasingly strained.
Club insiders stress problems throughout the squad, as it failed to produce consistently good form, was a key factor in the dismissal.
SunSport revealed on January 5 that Tuchel had been lined up but the deal is slightly delayed by coronavirus and work permit issues.
Brexit means German Tuchel, who is expected to sign an initial 18-month deal, must have his paperwork sorted before he can start work, although the red tape is not expected to be a major problem.
Chelsea are hoping Tuchel can serve Government quarantine rules via the elite sport provision and it is likely he will take charge of his first game tomorrow.
The German, who has been living in his homeland, must first test Covid negative to get into the UK then again to enter a Premier League bubble.
After that he can attend the training ground and matches but has to quarantine at all other times for five days.
Lampard has half of his £15m three-year deal remaining and is expected to be paid up in full. Chelsea may opt to pay him as per normal until he gets another job.
Lampard’s assistant Jody Morris and Chris Jones will leave too. First team coach Joe Edwards may stay on and be placed in temporary charge against Wolves if Tuchel cannot get clearance in time.
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