Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will not sack Frank Lampard if the Blues do not win the league this season, provided they still finish in the top four, but there is increased pressure on the manager to prove he can turn the Blues into a title-challenging team. That’s the verdict of Frank Sinclair.
Chelsea have won their last three matches across all competitions and have not conceded a goal in any of their last five with summer signing Edouard Mendy impressing between the sticks.
The west London club sit seventh with 12 points, four points off of league leaders Liverpool, the only team Chelsea have lost to so far this term.
Having found some defensive consistency, Chelsea’s star-studded new-look attack is also beginning to find some rhythm having scored 10 goals in the last three Champions League and Premier League matches.
And that has seen some tip Chelsea to put together a sustained title challenge with neither Liverpool or Manchester City appearing as all-conquering as they have been in recent seasons.
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There have been alternate suggestions that following a summer spend of nearly £250million, Lampard could be at risk of losing his job this season if he does not build on his first campaign at the helm.
But ex-Chelsea defender Sinclair, who made over 200 Stamford Bridge appearances, believes that while pressure has risen from last term, Abramovich will show patience with Lampard rather than axing the club legend if he does deliver the domestic game’s biggest prize.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s massive pressure on Frank Lampard this season, but there’s an expectation there, that’s for sure,” Sinclair said, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Leicester vs Wolves.
“Even when Frank came in last season, there was an expectation to finish in the Champions League spots, even though he had obvious restraints and had to work with what he inherited as a squad.
“And fair play to him for finishing in the top four – not only that but he was always there or thereabout last season as well.
“You could tell there was a standard of consistency throughout the season and obviously when you get the opportunity to sign some of the best players in the world then that expectation is going to be there once again.
“The next level from finishing in the Champions League is obviously winning the Premier League so I do think there’s going to be an expectation there that Chelsea push on and make a challenge of it along with Liverpool and Manchester City.
“There’s a lot of pressure that comes with spending an owner’s money – they expect to see value for that money, so Frank has to deliver.
“The days of Roman Abramovich being ruthless with managers are gone. It seems he’ll have a lot more patience with Frank, being a lot younger and inexperienced.
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“He’s pretty much learning on the job and getting better and better with each game, so I’d be surprised if Roman was to get rid of him just for not winning the league or finishing in the top four.
“Outside of the football club of course there’s going to be pressure and speculation, but I’d be very surprised if Frank isn’t given an opportunity at Chelsea to better the squad, better performances and, most importantly, better himself as a manager.”
Speaking ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Sheffield United this weekend, Blades boss Chris Wilder has tipped the Blues to contest for the title this term.
“The problems he had there in his first season, with the transfer embargo, he did very well but he is now putting his stamp on the team and I expect them to go really well this season,” Wilder said.
“I think there’s a few clubs beneath Liverpool and Manchester City who are desperate to close that gap, and there is a gap, and Chelsea is certainly the standout one for me in terms of closing the gap between the two teams who have been the best in the country for quite a period now.
“Chelsea are an outstanding side and I believe they are going to close that gap and I think they will be in and around it right the way through.
“People might talk about inexperience but people always look for an excuse to dig managers out and I can’t see anything else but an unbelievably driven manager in Frank Lampard and intelligent one who had a fabulous playing career and who is taking those experiences into his managerial career.”
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