FRANK Lampard did such a great job in his first year at Chelsea that his sudden sacking today has come as a shock.
A shock, yes, but perhaps not a surprise.
Frank Lampard has been sacked by Chelsea after a shocking 2020-21
Kai Havertz has failed to live up to his billing since moving to Chelsea
Because Chelsea have gone backwards in recent weeks, and Lampard’s lack of experience as a top-level coach has been horribly exposed.
There was a lot of love for him within the corridors of power at Stamford Bridge, not least from owner Roman Abramovich.
The Russian’s emotional statement shows just how difficult this decision was, compared to all the other managers he has ruthlessly axed.
He said: “I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him.”
They all so desperately wanted it to work.
But recent performances, and muddled team selections, have cost him his job as much as the disappointing results.
The two Germans arrived in the summer, Werner for £53m and Havertz for £70m, with so much promise.
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
Frank Lampard has been sacked by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich
Timo Werner reacts as he misses a penalty against Luton in the FA Cup
But both are now shadows of the men who took the Bundesliga by storm.
And Abramovich is not a man likely to sit back and watch as his £123m investment slowly but surely withers before his eyes.
Werner’s confidence is shot to bits. His reaction to missing a penalty in Sunday’s FA Cup victory over Luton on Sunday was painful to watch.
The German striker started his Chelsea career impressively, but Lampard’s desire to play him on the left wing rather than more centrally has eroded Werner’s confidence, game by game.
And Lampard is still without any idea how to fit Havertz into his side.
The ‘generational talent’ of German football has been a lost soul in West London from day one.
Lampard’s first season in charge was marked out by the confidence he placed in this young charges like Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, and the confident manner they repaid him.
But he has failed to back the two German stars Havertz and Werner.
And their sorry performances have paid that loss of faith back in spades.
Abramovich has spent over £110m on sacking managers since his 2003 arrival
Lampard has got several things wrong this season. Too many changes in personnel and formation.
Inconsistency in selection. Over-reliance on certain players, and a lack of confidence in others.
However his inability to find a way to incorporate Werner and Havertz, Chelsea’s marquee £123m signings from last summer, have sealed his fate.
⚽ Read our Chelsea live blog for the very latest news from the Bridge