CHELSEA has sacked manager Frank Lampard after 18 months at the helm, with former Paris St-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel expected to replace him.
Lampard, 42, leaves with the club ninth in the Premier League after last week’s defeat at Leicester City, having won once in their last five league games.
His final match was Sunday’s 3-1 FA Cup fourth-round victory against Luton.
Lampard was appointed on a three-year contract when he replaced Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge in July 2019.
The former Chelsea midfielder guided them into fourth place and the FA Cup final in his first season at the helm, and a 3-1 win against Leeds in early December put the club at the top of the Premier League .
However, the Blues have suffered five defeats in their last eight league games, as much as they had in their previous 23.
In a statement, Chelsea said: “This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and board have taken lightly.
“We are grateful to Frank for his achievements in his time as head coach of the club. However, recent results and performances have not met club expectations, leaving the club’s middle table with no clear path to continuous improvement.
“He can never have a good time parting ways with the legend of a club like Frank, but after much thought and consideration it was decided that change was needed now to give the club time to improve performances and results this season.”
Owner Roman Abramovich said Lampard’s status as the club’s “important icon” “remains undetermined” despite his dismissal.
“This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him,” said Abramovich.
“He is a man of great integrity and has the highest work ethic. However, in the current circumstances we believe it is better to change management. ”
Lampard did not sign a single player during his first season as the club operated under a transfer embargo, but spent more than £ 200m on seven major signs last summer, including £ 45m on Le Chilwell of Leicester and £ 71m on the player midfielder Kai Havertz of Bayer Leverkusen.
This is the most Chelsea have spent in one summer, capturing the £ 186m they invested at the start of the 2017-18 season.
Lampard is Chelsea’s all-time record scorer, with 211 goals for the club between 2001 and 2014, and is also joint seventh on the list of most capped English players, having made 106 appearances for his over 15 years from 1999.
During his 13 seasons as a player at Stamford Bridge, he made 648 appearances and won 11 major trophies – including four Premier League titles and the 2012 Champions League.
His first management job was in Derby. In his one season at the helm, they reached the final of the Championship play-offs, where they lost to Aston Villa.
Lampard became Abramovich’s 10th full-time manager since the billionaire bought the club in 2003.
According to football finance journalist Kieran Maguire, Abramovich had spent £ 110m on management dismissal before Lampard’s dismissal. (BBC Sport)