Frank Lampard’s Chelsea misery was piled on after his side suffered a crushing 3-1 defeat to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Sunday afternoon.
The Blues currently sit eighth in the Premier League table and have won just once in their last seven outings.
The pressure on Lampard’s shoulders is beginning to mount.
The heat in the Stamford Bridge dugout has without a doubt been amplified by the fact the Blues entrusted Lampard to embed over £200m worth of talent after a summer spending spree; something he has so far failed to do.
With an FA Cup Third Round tie against Morecambe next up for Lampard’s faltering Blues, now could be the perfect time for the Londoners to fire back.
However, domestically Chelsea’s next five fixtures include tricky fixtures against title contenders Leicester City and Wolves, who recently came back to beat Lampard’s men 2-1.
Chelsea will head into the month of February greeted with a fierce London derby against rivals Tottenham Hotspur, managed by Lampard’s former mentor, Jose Mourinho.
But will Lampard still be at the helm come that fixture? – There are concerns among the Chelsea’s backroom staff that should Lampard fail to turn the Blues’ on-field fortunes around soon, he could very well be heading for the exit.
CaughtOffside has recently obtained exclusive information from a member of Chelsea’s backroom staff who spoke to us in-depth about the atmosphere behind-the-scenes at the club.
“The club’s feel and atmosphere is always one of innovation and evolution,” our insider revealed. “Especially with Frank [Lampard] utilising the extreme planning and hard work gone into the academy.”
“What’s unique about Chelsea and not always in a good way is the mood; it permeates through the club.
“We’re a political beast and the vibe changes and so do people’s perceptions and attitudes throughout the club and very quickly.”
When asked if our insider feels Lampard’s position as Chelsea manager is under threat, our source said: “Frank’s first season in charge exceeded expectation, but its still Chelsea, and £200m plus on players unfamiliar with the temperament associated with the Premier League, especially in the current climate brings immediate pressure on an already pressurised job.
“Combine this with the lack of game time experience and pressure playing in the first team from the academy lads, unfortunately compounds Frank’s position.”
Our insider went on to address the club’s concerns over Lampard’s in-game decisions.
“Losing 2-1 to Wolves on December 15; flying at half time with [Olivier] Giroud on a five or six goal game run and he [Lampard] subs him and puts on Tammy Abraham which completely ruins the team’s flow and we were abysmal in the second half.
“Game management and unnecessary amendments and not for the first time spoil all the hard work previously done.
“A win against West Ham followed by a loss, draw and loss against Arsenal, Aston Villa and Man City respectively, is not an end to a lot of planning and preparation the entire club would have been wanting for 2020 into 2021.
“Frank is intelligent, with a work ethic beyond the norm, but where are the leaders on the pitch?”
Speaking about Sunday’s performance against Man City, our insider went on to say: “[Billy] Gilmour and [Kai] Kavertz in the last 10 minutes both jumped for the ball on the edge of our defensive third, with no Man City player in sight and lost possession.
“Frank can lead, influence, advise and guide, but he needs lieutenants to do his talking on the pitch and that’s what he’s missing.
“The lack of Premier League experience, game management, tactical awareness, strength in decision making regarding the management team provides an isolated and weakened foothold on his current position.
“The atmosphere after this game is that he needs to be careful.
“Frank is a hero as a player, but it’s cut throat when you are the man in charge. [Jose] Mourinho can vouch for that.
“Frank knows the decision to come to Chelsea was huge.
“The pressure, motivation, passion and expectation from himself alone would have been intense, with the club being so inconsistent in the Premier League, the next month will be huge, even though we are only six-points off the top, it’s the manner in which we play that concerns everyone associated with the club.”
We asked our insider if there have been any suggestions behind-the-scenes as to who Roman Abramovich may look to, to replace Lampard should the Russian owner opt to part ways, our insider simply said: “Who would be next? [Massimiliano] Allegri.”