‘Proud’ Lampard eyes first Chelsea win in home debut

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2019

‘Proud’ Lampard eyes first Chelsea win in home debut

  • The 41-year-old, Chelsea’s record goal-scorer, is certain to get a hero’s welcome from his adoring fans despite the frustrating start to the season

LONDON: Frank Lampard admits his first match as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge will be a proud occasion, but only a win against Leicester will make Sunday’s homecoming a truly memorable occasion.
After successive defeats in his opening two competitive games in charge, Blues legend Lampard is desperate to get his reign up and running with three points this weekend.
The 41-year-old, Chelsea’s record goal-scorer, is certain to get a hero’s welcome from his adoring fans despite the frustrating start to the season.
A crushing 4-0 defeat at Manchester United in Chelsea’s opening game of the Premier League campaign was followed by Wednesday’s penalty shoot-out loss to Liverpool in the European Super Cup in Istanbul.
Both performances featured moments of promise for Chelsea, but Lampard knows he will be judged on results, making it essential to avoid a third consecutive defeat when Leicester visit west London.
“I’m proud to manage this club. I’ve been back a few times and had great support,” Lampard said.
“It will be an emotional, special day for me but the important thing is trying to get the three points and that’s what I am really worried about.”
“There were good parts of the Man United game that got lost in the result but not lost on me — against Liverpool, we played one of the top teams in the world and really matched them.”
Lampard has only one season of managerial experience in the second tier with Derby, but his strong connection with Chelsea persuaded owner Roman Abramovich to hire him in the close-season.
It was a bold move and Lampard is enduring a baptism of fire after Chelsea sold star playmaker Eden Hazard while operating under a transfer ban that has forced him to turn to the club’s youngsters.
Lampard is still getting settled into the job and he acknowledges Leicester, who opened the season with a goalless draw against Wolves, will pose a stern test to his hopes of a maiden win.
“It’s a big game for us in front of our home fans for the first time this season,” Lampard said ahead of the game against Brendan Rodgers’ team.
“Leicester are very much a team that should be respected for the players and manager they have got and how they have performed in recent years.
“I know Brendan well. He’s a fantastic manager. He’s got a great group of players there. They will be well coached so we are going to have a big challenge.
“Our mindset is important. It’s been a strange two games. We can’t think the strong performance on Wednesday will replicate itself just because we walk out on that pitch. It’s important we tackle it head on with a real focus.”
Lampard was forced to condemn racist abuse of Tammy Abraham on social media after the young Chelsea striker missed the decisive penalty against Liverpool.
It remains to be seen if Abraham returns to the team after he started the United game and was then a substitute against Liverpool as Olivier Giroud came in.
Lampard also has German defender Antonio Rudiger and Brazilian winger Willian back in contention after the pair returned to training.
Rodgers, who worked in Chelsea’s backroom staff during Lampard’s playing career, believes the inexperienced manager will prove a success in the long-term.
“In the games I have seen, Chelsea have played with a good tempo and intensity,” Rodgers said.
“Frank understands the importance of giving those young players a chance, but he also knows he has to win matches and get results, and I believe he will do well there.”


Spurs sack Pochettino amid results slump

Updated 20 November 2019

Spurs sack Pochettino amid results slump

  • Tottenham statement: The club can today announce that Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino and Antoni Jimenez have been relieved of their duties
  • Tottenham sit 14th in England’s top flight after picking up just three wins from their opening 12 games, and were eliminated from the League Cup in September by fourth-tier Colchester United

LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur sacked manager Mauricio Pochettino on Tuesday following a miserable start to the campaign that has seen last season’s Champions League finalists slide down the Premier League table.
Tottenham sit 14th in England’s top flight after picking up just three wins from their opening 12 games, and were eliminated from the League Cup in September by fourth-tier Colchester United.
“The club can today announce that Mauricio Pochettino and his coaching staff Jesus Perez, Miguel D’Agostino and Antoni Jimenez have been relieved of their duties,” Tottenham said in a statement.
Pochettino, 47, joined Spurs from Southampton in 2014 and transformed the club’s fortunes despite failing to win a trophy in his five-and-a-half years in charge.
His side have become Champions League regulars over the past four seasons, culminating in a dramatic run to the club’s first ever European Cup final in June, which they lost 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.
However, domestically results have been on the decline since February.
Only the faltering form of Arsenal and Manchester United allowed Spurs to cling onto a top-four finish last season as they won just three of their final 12 league games.
That form has continued at the start of this season with Pochettino leaving the club already 11 points outside the Premier League top four and 20 behind leaders Liverpool.
“We were extremely reluctant to make this change and it is not a decision the board has taken lightly, nor in haste,” said Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.
“Regrettably domestic results at the end of last season and beginning of this season have been extremely disappointing.
“It falls to the board to make the difficult decisions — this one made more so given the many memorable moments we have had with Mauricio and his coaching staff — but we do so in the club’s best interests.”
The job done by Pochettino was all the more remarkable given the tight budget he was afforded by Levy for transfers and wages in comparison to Tottenham’s Premier League rivals, as the club built a new stadium at a cost of over £1 billion.
Spurs were forced to play at temporary home Wembley for the entirety of the 2017/18 campaign and most of last season before moving into their new 62,000 capacity ground in April.
After 18 months without signing a single player, Levy finally loosened the purse strings to buy Tanguy Ndombele for a club record £63 million ($79 million) in July and added Giovani lo Celso on loan and Ryan Sessegnon in the summer transfer window.
However, injuries have prevented that trio making an instant impact, while Pochettino bemoaned the disruptive effect of Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen all entering the final year of their contracts.
“Mauricio and his coaching staff will always be part of our history,” added Levy.
“I have the utmost admiration for the manner in which he dealt with the difficult times away from a home ground whilst we built the new stadium and for the warmth and positivity he brought to us. I should like to thank him and his coaching staff for all they have contributed. They will always be welcome here.
“We have a talented squad. We need to re-energise and look to deliver a positive season for our supporters.”