Frank Lampard has offered his opinion on the Chelsea crisis, insisting that now is the time for the club to show their support to Jose Mourinho.
The Blues were by far the best team in the country last season as they won the league title for the first time since 2010, but they are completely unrecognisable this time round. A 3-1 defeat at home to Liverpool was their sixth reverse from their opening 11 fixtures, of which they have won just three, leaving them 10 points behind Manchester United in fourth place.
It has been suggested that the problem stems from key players who have lost their belief in Mourinho, to such an extent they have effectively stopped playing for him. But Lampard, the club’s all-time top goalscorer, doubts this is the case, and has instead called on owner Roman Abramovich to back the most successful manager in the history of the Stamford Bridge side.
“Well, it is nonsense if it is happening – and I don’t believe it is,” he told Sky Sports on Monday night. “I don’t think players at the top level can down tools. Your first responsibility as a player is to yourself – if you are downing tools, the only one who looks stupid is yourself. This is not a great moment, this is not a time to flick the ball around the corner and have great games.
“This is a time for players to knuckle down and win games, maybe the hard way. These rumours around big players…the problem is when you are having a hard time, these stories become bigger. I don’t think those words would have been spoken, but it’s not great that they’re coming out. When you look at it, it is crazy [the numbers of managers in the Abramovich era].
“But Chelsea is a unique club. I think there’s such a desire to win and a pressure to win. The owner, the board, they have taken the decisions to win, and as Chelsea people we can’t complain. It might look messy, but we have got a lot of Premier League titles and a UEFA Champions League. What has been said is they want stability, so that’s the interesting thing to see.
“Manchester United were the ideal with Sir Alex Ferguson and the same with the great Liverpool managers of the past. You want to see a manager stay, and that’s the intriguing thing to see now, to see if Chelsea stick with him. He’s got a four-year contract and he has got the best record as Chelsea manager. He is proven world class, and I think they should stick with him.”
Mourinho and his players have a respite from Premier League action this week when their focus returns to the Champions League and the visit of Dynamo Kiev. A win for the hosts would see them move back into the qualification places in Group G, and would also give them a much-needed boost ahead of the potentially tricky trip to Stoke City on Saturday evening.