Frank Lampard was sacked as Chelsea manager on Monday, the club announced. The former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel is likely to replace him, reports stated. The 42-year-old leaves Stamford Bridge with the club ninth in the Premier League table, 11 points behind leaders Manchester United.
With Lampard sacked, he leaves with the lowest points per game of any Chelsea manager under Abramovich.
Chelsea's 2-0 loss to Leicester City was reportedly the tipping point for the club as it meant they won just two of their last eight Premier League matches.
A hat-trick from Tammy Abraham helped the Blues progress into the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday with a 3-1 win over Luton but it could not save Lampard's job, with owner Roman Abramovich apparently ready to make a change.
Chelsea, in their statement, said it was a very difficult decision to make and that they were grateful to Lampard for everything he had achieved during his time as the manager.
"However, recent results and performances have not met the Club’s expectations, leaving the Club mid-table without any clear path to sustained improvement. There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the Club time to improve performances and results this season," the statement read.
"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. He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.
"On behalf of everyone at the Club, the Board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as Head Coach and wish him every success in the future. He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge," Abramovich said.
Chelsea's record goalscorer had signed a three-year deal in 2019 and despite a transfer ban, led them to the FA Cup final and a fourth-place finish in his first managerial campaign at Stamford Bridge.
With cash to spend ahead of this season, the arrivals of Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Timo Werner have failed to translate into improved results. The club's hierarchy is reportedly concerned about the form of Havertz and Werner.
The Blues have lost six Premier League matches so far this season, losing five of their last eight league games.
According to The Athletic, it was Chelsea's loss to Manchester City that put Lampard's job at threat and after the loss to Leicester, Chelsea are now just inside Top 10 even as they were tipped as one of the contenders ahead of the season.
The Athletic also reported there has been some tension within the squad between Lampard and a number of players, especially the ones who are not among regular starters for the manager. Some players also complained that there was a lack of tactical instruction and some have not been spoken to for months by Lampard.
The report further states that Chelsea checked for RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann as well before striking a deal with Tuchel. Lampard reportedly shook hands with the players and thanked them for their efforts under him after the loss to Leicester. The dressing room was reportedly also not happy with Lampard's public criticism of the players and apparent lack of empathy. Also, Lampard's relationship with influential director Marina Granovskaia has deteriorated, according to the report.
(With AFP inputs)