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Frank feels the Blues

Lampard under pressure from Roman to get Chelsea moving in right direction


Chelsea manager Frank Lampard

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard

"You're getting sacked in the morning," taunted the home supporters when Bohemians' trialist Eric Molloy stuck the ball in the Chelsea net at Dalymount last summer.

It was a pre-season friendly and Frank Lampard's first game in charge of Chelsea ended 1-1.

With just one season as boss of Championship club Derby on his managerial CV, Lampard would have understood the precarious nature of his new position as Chelsea boss.

Club owner Roman Abramovich is a demanding one.

Lampard was his 14th managerial appointment at Chelsea since taking control in the summer of 2003.

Abramovich demands success. Eight of his managerial appointments delivered trophies. His Chelsea won 16 trophies in 16 seasons.

On Saturday last, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta denied Chelsea a ninth FA Cup title.

As Lampard prepares to face Bayern Munich tomorrow he'll be anxious to avoid a drubbing but knows Chelsea will be at a disadvantage due to a cruel mix of injuries and suspensions.

In the FA Cup final, Chelsea lost Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta to injury.

And surgery on a shoulder injury picked up in that match was the last act of Spaniard Pedro's role in a Chelsea shirt.

Marcos Alonso and Jorginho will miss tomorrow's tie due to suspension.

It's unlikely that Willian will be anxious to rush back for a final flourish before signing with a new club, likely to be Arsenal but possibly Spurs.

With concern over N'Golo Kante (hamstring trouble) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (a training knock), it will be a depleted Chelsea that will meet the Bavarian kingpins tomorrow.

The new Premier League season is due to start on September 12 and Lampard is already feeling the pressure.

"The players need a break," he's complained. "Even in a worst-case scenario, we don't go through against Bayern, the 12th feels too early for me for the players to start playing again."

With no love lost between Lampard and Leeds United supporters, some of the newly-promoted club's fans have dubbed the Chelsea boss "Fragile Frank."

If Chelsea's season ends tomorrow, Lampard's squad will have just 35 days to rest, recover and prepare for the new season.

Given the threadbare squad he inherited last season, minus Eden Hazard (gone to Real Madrid) and Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid) and constrained by the transfer embargo imposed on the club, Lampard did well to make fourth place in the league. 

Looking towards next season, he knows he can reshape his team to include the playmaking skills of former Ajax player Hakim Ziyech and RB Leipzig's striker Timo Werner, both new club signings.

But the essential structure of Chelsea's line-up requires remedial work beyond just two or three signings.

Starting with a goalkeeper, the foundations need to be addressed. With a centre-half and left-back also required.

At present, Lampard is being trusted to supervise these critical renovations.

But his Russian billionaire boss is demanding results.

Conspicuously, he didn't congratulate his manager when the club held on and finished fourth in the league.

"I feel the support from the owner," says Lampard. "I have felt it from the moment I took the job."

Abramovich has sanctioned the signing of Bayer Leverkusen's attacking midfielder Kai Havertz and is funding Lampard's rebuild.

Lampard is not the only Premier League manager who needs to strengthen his defence. But, given the demands of his mercurial boss, he could be the first to lose his job next season if things don't appear to be working out.