April 14, 2024

Lampard returns as caretaker boss at Chelsea

Lampard returns as caretaker boss at Chelsea
Frank Lampard

The club's record goalscorer and fans' favourite previously spent 19 months as manager at Stamford Bridge before being dismissed in January 2021.

Frank Lampard has returned to Chelsea as caretaker manager until the end of the season following the sacking of Graham Potter, the Premier League club confirmed on Thursday.

The club's record goalscorer and fans' favourite previously spent 19 months as manager at Stamford Bridge before being dismissed in January 2021.

"We are delighted to welcome Frank back to Stamford Bridge. Frank is a Premier League Hall of Famer and a legend at this club," co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali said in a statement on the club's website.

"As we continue our thorough and exhaustive process for a permanent head coach, we want to provide the club and our fans with a clear and stable plan for the remainder of the season.

"We want to give ourselves every chance of success and Frank has all of the characteristics and qualities we need to drive us to the finish line."

Lampard's return, while the club seeks a full-time replacement for Potter, will provide a boost for the fans who have seen their team struggle despite a spend of almost $374 million on new players in January.

Chelsea are currently 11th in the Premier League although they are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

"This is my club. I have a lot of emotions towards the club. I'm also a practical person," Lampard told a news conference.

"I've been on a different path since I left Chelsea, but to come back at a time when the club have asked me, with a belief I can help until the end of the season, I'm delighted to have this opportunity."

The former England midfielder enjoys cult status at Stamford Bridge and many fans were disappointed to see him fired by former owner Roman Abramovich after a run of poor results.

Lampard's first task will be preparing the side for Saturday's away trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League before the focus turns to next week's Champions League quarter-final first leg away to Real Madrid.

"It's my position to find the right energy, the right results to move ourselves in the right direction. We are where we are. There's a lot of talent in this squad," Lampard said.

Lampard will know many of the players from his previous time in charge when he fast-tracked youngsters such as Mason Mount and Reece James into the first team as the club coped with a transfer ban imposed by FIFA.

But he will also be faced with blending big-money signings into a coherent unit -- something that Potter struggled to achieve during his short time at the helm after himself replacing Thomas Tuchel in September.

Lampard's return offers the 44-year-old, who scored 211 goals for Chelsea in all competitions during a trophy-laden 13 years as a player, a route back into coaching after he was sacked by Everton in January.

The highlight of his first spell in charge of Chelsea was reaching the FA Cup final in 2020. They also finished fourth in the Premier League in his first full season but the following campaign was disappointing despite the club spending heavily on the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.

Lampard was sacked in January 2021 on the back of a run of two wins in eight league games and his replacement Tuchel then went on to win the Champions League by beating Manchester City in the final.

Securing Champions League qualification for next season appears to be an uphill task for Lampard with the club 14 points off the top-four with nine games left in the season.

Nevertheless, they are still in the Champions League although they face a daunting task against holders Real Madrid.

While it is not unfeasible that Lampard could earn another crack at the job on a full-time basis, Chelsea are reported to have targeted Julian Nagelsmann and Luis Enrique.

According to a media reports, former Spain and Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has travelled to London to hold talks with Chelsea.