Chelsea boss Frank Lampard finds himself under increasing pressure following a disappointing run of results that has left Chelsea eighth in the table, so just how long might he have to turn things around?
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is under increasing pressure following Tuesday night’s defeat to Leicester City.
The result left the Blues nine points off the top of the table and that gap could be extended if those with games in hand do their bit in the coming days.
Chelsea have now won just two from their last eight league games and they are quickly fading away from the top four, now in eighth place, despite spending more than £200million to improve their squad over the summer.
Lampard has been unable to arrest his side’s slide down the table over the winter and calls for him to be sacked are getting louder by the day, but his departure still doesn’t seem to be imminent.
It seems Roman Abramovich is being patient with Lampard, despite how frustrated he must be having spent so much money with little improvement.
But that patience won’t last forever, and while the Chelsea owner has, more often than not, replaced managers at the end of the season during his time at Stamford Bridge, he has shown he is willing to pull the trigger before then if needs be.
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And as Chelsea attempt to qualify for the Champions League, at the very minimum this season, there seems to be a deadline for when Abramovich can make the call.
That’s because, over the coming 10 days, Chelsea do have some winnable fixtures with three home games on the bounce, starting with an FA Cup tie with Luton Town before Premier League fixtures against Wolves and Burnley.
Things then get a little tougher with a derby against Tottenham before two more very winnable games against strugglers Sheffield United and Newcastle United.
But after that, things get very difficult for the Blues with fixtures that will define whether or not they will qualify for the Champions League.
Following the Newcastle game, Chelsea face in-form Southampton, then Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16, Manchester United, Everton, Leeds United, Atletico Madrid in the second leg and then Liverpool.
So, if Lampard hasn’t built up momentum before going into that run of fixtures, Abramovich will surely have to make the call to ensure his side get some sort of bump heading into those crucial games.
Many have suggested that qualification for the Champions League is now being prioritised above all else with the league title looking unlikely from some weeks ago.
There have been suggestions that Lampard will be given time to turn things around, but if his side fall out of top-four contention, he could find himself being shown the exit door.
If Champions League is indeed what Lampard’s future hinges on, we could well see Abramovich making his decision on whether to stick with his current boss before that Southampton clash on February 20, potentially giving Lampard another month to put things right.
Having said that, more performances like the one at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night and Abramovich might just find himself delivering bad news much sooner.