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Lampard in shock return to Chelsea

Lampard in shock return to Chelsea

FOOTBALL: Frank Lampard has made a surprise return to Chelsea after he was appointed caretaker manager until the end of the season yesterday (Apr 6), just over two years after he was sacked by the Premier League club.


Friday 7 April 2023, 12:30PM

Former Chelsea player and manager Lampard has returned to the troubled club until the end of the seson. Photo: AFP

Former Chelsea player and manager Lampard has returned to the troubled club until the end of the seson. Photo: AFP

Lampard, Chelsea’s record goalscorer, previously managed the Blues from July 2019 until January 2021, when he was replaced by Thomas Tuchel.

The 44-year-old’s unexpected move back to Stamford Bridge came after Tuchel’s successor Graham Potter was dismissed on Apr 2 with the club in the bottom half of the Premier League.

“We are delighted to welcome Frank back to Stamford Bridge,” Chelsea co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali said in a statement.

“Frank is a Premier League Hall of Famer and a legend at this club.

“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.”

Former England midfielder Lampard had been out of a job since January when he was sacked by relegation-threatened Everton after less than a year in charge.

Lampard claimed he did not have to swallow his pride to return to Chelsea despite his brutal exit during Roman Abramovich’s reign as owner.

The Blues legend couldn’t refuse the opportunity to help a club so close to his heart after his 13-year spell as a Premier League and Champions League-winning Chelsea player.

“It’s a pretty easy decision for me. This is my club. I have a lot of emotions and feelings,” Lampard said.

“It’s a big challenge, but aren’t they all? I’m ready to put my work into this challenge and take it day by day. I’ll give my utmost to give the fans what they want until the end of the season.”

As the search for a permanent replacement for Potter heats up, ex-Barcelona and Spain coach Luis Enrique reportedly flew into London on Wednesday to meet with Chelsea officials for talks about the full-time job.

Julian Nagelsmann, sacked recently by Bayern Munich, is also thought to be a contender, along with former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Cooper avoids Forest chop

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has said Steve Cooper will remain in charge of the struggling Premier League club but warned results must “improve immediately”.

Forest’s 2-1 defeat at relegation-rivals Leeds on Tuesday (Apr 4) extended their winless league run to eight matches and left them, at time of press, 17th in the table - above the drop zone only on goal difference.

But in a statement on the club’s website, Marinakis said he was standing by Cooper after reports emerged that the coach faced the sack.

“We wish to end the speculation and the false and disruptive reporting in the media to confirm that Steve Cooper remains our manager at Nottingham Forest,” said the Greek billionaire.

“We have all been disappointed with recent performances and it is very clear that a lot of hard work needs to be done to address this urgently. Results and performances must improve immediately.”

Cooper, who signed a new contract at the club in October, insisted after his side’s defeat at Elland Road that he was not worried about his own future.

“I always think of the greater good of the club, so any sort of worry, disappointment, frustration I’m feeling right now is the fact that Forest have lost a game they could have done so much better in,” he said.

Cooper, who won promotion to the English top flight with Forest last year, said he trusted in himself and his players to secure their Premier League status.

“I really believe in the players, I really believe in what we do and really believe in the club and it’s a bit frustrating now because we just played like we did,” he said.

“There was an opportunity to go 13th in the league, build a bit of a gap and obviously Leeds were going for the same thing as well and there’s frustration around that.”

Marinakis’ comments only days after Chelsea sacked Potter and Leicester City parted ways with Brendan Rodgers, bringing the number of managers to lose their job in the English top flight this season to an unprecendented 13 in total.

At time of press, the general feeling was that West Ham United David Moyes manager could be the next name added to the list.

The Hammers were thrashed 1-5 by Newcastle United on Wednesday (Apr 5), leaving the team in 15th place on 27 points but only ahead of 18th placed Bournemouth on goal difference.

Leeds United, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Everton, Leicester and Southampton are the other sides currently facing relegation fears, with only six points separating Leeds in 13th and bottom-placed Southampton.

Hammers captain Declan Rice is adamant he and his teammates cannot afford to sulk.

“We are positive that we have enough to get out of this,” he said. “We can only worry about ourselves. We have picked up results. It is down to us. And if we win our games, we will be all right.”

Fixtures (all Phuket times)


Manchester United v Everton (6:30pm)

Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest (9pm)

Brentford v Newcastle (9pm)

Fulham v West Ham (9pm)

Leicester v Bournemouth (9pm)

Tottenham v Brighton (9pm)

Wolves v Chelsea (9pm)

Southampton v Manchester City (11:30pm)


Leeds v Crystal Palace (8pm)

Liverpool v Arsenal (10:30pm)

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