Former Chelsea and France star Emmanuel Petit has joined the long list of people who believe that it was a bit premature for Chelsea to name Frank Lampard as their new manager. The Blues officially confirmed that the 41-year-old is the club’s new manager on Thursday. He replaces Maurizio Sarri who left the club this summer in order to manage Juventus.
Lampard is widely regarded as being one of the greatest Chelsea players of all-time after having spent 13 successful years at the club as a player.
He told Paddy Power: “Frank Lampard has many qualities. He’s a very dedicated person, who loves football and has total respect for his team-mates and managers. He is always ambitious. But somewhere in my mind, I have a feeling the Chelsea job could have come too soon for him.
“We saw what he brought to Derby County, leading them to the playoffs, but that wasn’t the end of the story for them and they ended up failing to earn promotion. He’ll face increased expectation at Chelsea, and he knows this, having played for the club for so long.
“He has only just become a manager and needs more experience – with all due respect to Derby, it’s not the same managing them as Chelsea. The environment changes every time you go from one club to another. It’s a huge step for him, and you can’t manage the lives of the players at Stamford Bridge in the same way you can at Derby.
“I haven’t yet seen what his vision is as a manager. His Derby team were well organised and worked together, but tactically I want to see specific things from him in the dugout. Added to that, he’s arriving at Chelsea at a bad time because he may not have money to spend and Eden Hazard has already left the club. It could be a tough season for him.”
Fans cannot expect Super Frank to deliver immediately
Lampard’s return to Stamford Bridge is likely to lead to many fans feeling euphoric about what the future holds. As someone who will understand the in’s and out’s of Chelsea and who will know owner Roman Abramovich well, it can be argued that Lampard has the knowledge which is required to lead the Blues successfully through their two-window transfer ban.
In lieu of the ban and the fact that the club cannot bring immediate direct replacements for the likes of Eden Hazard, Alvaro Morata and Gary Cahill, it would be ridiculous to expect Lampard to deliver major silverware during his first season. It would, however, be realistic to expect him to secure a top-four finish as well as have deep runs in all of the tournaments, especially the Champions League.
Next season must be viewed as one in which Chelsea use to develop for a successful future after years of under-achievement. The club should aim to unearth a few bright young prospects from the youth development system. While challenging times may lay ahead next season, it could prove to be a blessing in disguise in the long run and could lead to talented youngsters including Callum Hudson-Odoi committing their long-term futures to the club. Hudson-Odoi is likely to get regular opportunities next season due to the departure of Hazard.