As the half-way point in the football season approaches, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is showing how good of a manager he is. Already he has had to endure bad times, but that is what you get as a manager of a top football club like Chelsea. Having said that, he has dealt with scenarios that have arisen during the season in expert fashion.
A legend during his time at the club, Lampard has proven he has the qualities to move Chelsea in the right direction and there are positive signs of that happening.
Management of Christian Pulisic
The American was signed in January 2018 but remained at Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of last season. Since his arrival, Pulisic has had limited time to rest following his participation for the USA at the Gold Cup. But Lampard took his time to utilise the young American in his side as he knew that it would take him a while to get up to speed to the Premier League.
Once in the team, it was clear why Chelsea paid a lot of money to bring Pulisic to Stamford Bridge. From his displays this season he possesses an exceptional dribbling ability on the ball which follows suit to former Blue Eden Hazard. Obviously the 21-year-old has a long way to go to fill the void that the Belgian left but so far, the signs are there that he will be a top player at the club. Although it took him a while to be embedded at Chelsea, the main reason is how the player has been managed. Lampard hasn’t been given enough praise for his management of the player because settling him in gradually has proven a decisive decision for his career at Chelsea.
Getting the best out of players
Coming in as a new manager and having a transfer ban at large does have its negatives because the incoming boss can’t sign the players he wants for his philosophy. However, as a manager who has only coached for a full season, Lampard knows he has to work with the players he has at his disposal. Most people would agree that the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid in the summer is a big loss but it means some of Chelsea’s players must step up. Lampard, it seems, has full trust in his players to perform when they are selected. One player, in particular, was heavily criticised last season and seems to have silenced those doubters – Jorginho.
Jorginho has vastly improved this season since the departure of Maurizio Sarri. When he followed the Italian coach to Stamford Bridge in 2018, Jorginho was seen as the signing that would implement the so-called ‘SarriBall’ where it was a huge success when the pair were both at Napoli.
Another reason as to why Chelsea paid the hefty fee for the services of Jorginho was for his passing attributes. He is passing a lot better this season which he wasn’t doing last season under Sarri. For that, he was heavily criticised for it as he was passing square and backwards and didn’t recall any assists.
Now under Lampard, it is like Chelsea have signed a new player as the Italian midfielder is passing forwards and looking to begin Chelsea attacks. The only downside to Jorginho’s game is his athleticism in the middle of the park. He doesn’t have the ability to be a holding midfielder by himself because he isn’t strong enough to do the defensive duty. This is why Lampard has used N’Golo Kante or Matteo Kovacic alongside him in a double pivot in a 4-2-3-1 formation and at times, he and his midfield counterpart have excelled in that role.
Youngsters embedded bolds well for the future
With a transfer embargo continuing at the start of the 2019/20 campaign, Lampard had to use the players he had at his disposal. Already with one season as a manager under his belt at Derby County, Lampard utilised two Chelsea youngsters during his one-year spell at the Championship side. Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were inspirational last season and for that, the Chelsea boss brought them back to West London. Both have deservedly earned England call-ups, along with another returning Chelsea youngster, Tammy Abraham. The English striker thrived at Aston Villa last season, scoring 26 goals in total. This season he has continued that form and is the club’s top goalscorer this season with 16 goals. Other young players have featured with the likes of Reece James, Billy Gilmour, Marc Guehi, Tariq Lamptey, and Callum Hudson-Odoi – who had already shown his quality during last season under the previous manager.
Questions were raised at the start of the season as to whether or not Chelsea’s youngsters would be ready to play for such a big club. On the basis of how well the club are doing without making any signings, they have answered those questions and Lampard has shown that they are more than ready to play for the club. The Chelsea boss continues to put faith in youth and will continue to do so for the remainder of the season.
January window will show Frank Lampard’s resolve
Now that the window is open and knowing that the club’s transfer ban has been lifted, the question is: will Lampard attempt to sign players this month? If he is able to, will they be players who will improve the current crop of players, or are they to fill a position if a player were to depart? Chelsea have always been one of the clubs who look to do business in January. So far they haven’t signed anyone, but behind the scenes, the club will surely be working on potential targets this month.
How far can this Chelsea side go?
At this moment, Chelsea are in a good position at the halfway point in the season as they currently sit fourth in the Premier League and are still in the FA Cup and Champions League. Besides some results being disappointing, especially at home, Lampard has so far shown that he is the right man for the job who can combine the talented youngsters at the club along with getting the best out of the experienced personnel.
If they can get back on a winning streak like they did at the start of the season, Chelsea will be in pole position to finish in the top four and secure a Champions League place next season. Since they were also recently given a good draw in the FA Cup away at Hull City. this could give Lampard the opportunity to win his first trophy as Chelsea manager – depending on if they go through. They also face a tough fixture in the Champions League as they face a repeat of the 2012 Munich final against German giants Bayern Munich. If Lampard’s side were to overcome this opposition over two legs, it will spark confidence throughout the side along with giving the Chelsea fans belief for the remainder of the season. However, Chelsea need to focus on one game at a time. Lampard will know this and so far his tenure at Chelsea has been a promising one.