Report: Lampard's future as Chelsea manager under serious threat

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Chelsea are considering firing Frank Lampard as manager and are exploring plans to replace him, sources told The Athletic's Simon Johnson and Liam Twomey.

It's unclear who the Blues would consider as a potential successor. Mauricio Pochettino would've been a popular candidate had he not accepted the position at Paris Saint-Germain earlier this week, according to Johnson and Twomey.

The decision to fire Lampard could be made sooner rather than later. With four losses in its last seven matches - including a comprehensive 3-1 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday - Lampard's side has dropped to eighth in the Premier League standings and shown signs of fraying.

Lampard publicly questioned his players after Chelsea's 3-1 capitulation to Arsenal on Boxing Day, describing their play as lazy. On Sunday, he defended his position.

"I expected periods of difficulty this year," he told reporters. "I said it when we beat Leeds and people were championing us to be title contenders. I know it doesn't come that easy. I know where we are at.

"One month ago people were asking when I'm signing a new contract, and now people will be saying different things because in a tight, busy period we have lost four games of football in quick succession. The pressure remains constant in this job. In tough moments that will be there, I'm not unaware of that. My job is to keep working, and lift the players who felt the differences of City in the first half."

Besides the dip in form, Chelsea executives are reportedly concerned about the form of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz. For a variety of reasons, Werner and Havert have yet to make an impact since arriving in the summer. Werner is goalless in 11 matches, and Havertz has failed to settle into Lampard's 4-3-3 formation, having struggled in multiple positions. Havertz also suffered from the effects of COVID-19.

Lampard has reportedly pleaded for understanding, citing the shortened offseason, vast turnover in players, and rash of injuries as primary reasons for Chelsea's on-pitch struggles. But their current standing in the table is considered unacceptable to Chelsea's hierarchy, which made more than £200 million available to sign Werner, Havertz, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech, and Edouard Mendy in the summer window.

But an uptick in results could save Lampard for the time being, according to Johnson and Twomey.

The 42-year-old has a contract until June 2022.

Report: Lampard's future as Chelsea manager under serious threat
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