Chelsea interim boss Frank Lampard sent a warning to the club’s potential next head coach Mauricio Pochettino following the Blues’ 4-1 defeat away to Manchester United on Thursday. Joao Felix got a late consolation for the visitors but another dismal performance and result prompted groans from the Chelsea faithful as they continue to slump to a mid-table finish.
Lampard inherited a bloated squad from Graham Potter and insisted that the number of players needs to be reduced in order to improve on their dismal campaign next year. When asked what advice he would give to his successor, he immediately pointed to transfer issues that Pochettino will need to handle.
“I think the squad size is something the club will address and the new manager will understand what I’m saying there in terms of numbers,” Lampard told Sky Sports. “So I think they’ll look at squad players that it might be time to leave or might want to leave to get the squad right. After that the manager will come in with whatever tactical idea he has.
“Top managers who are gonna manage Chelsea will have an idea whether it’s formation or style, but I do think that the club – having been here for a long time, a successful period playing and coaching back here – I think there’s a lot of basics, standards and day-to-day training ethics that amongst things that have happened this year have dropped down a level, and I think for me that’s the first thing I would fix.
“Those basics – and I’m not standing here telling the manager what to do – as I’m sure the level of manager coming in is gonna want to see that themselves and address it. But, in my short period, I would say that basic level before you get to tactics needs to step up a gear again.”
Chelsea’s issues were clear for all to see against United as they struggled to match up with their counterparts, as Lampard feels that having such a bloated squad has posed a challenge – something Pochettino will look to address. Todd Boehly will look to trim the numbers as Mason Mount could headline a fire sale, but the Argentine will hope that he does not lose too much quality in the process.
“It is a huge group and that’s been a challenge for me and probably every coach this season because when you work, firstly you know there are ways which you work that the numbers can be a problem practically,” Lampard added.
“Then there’s the collective mindset and spirit of the group and the fact we’ve got a squad of low thirties, you’re leaving a lot of people at home. That’s been challenging.
“On one part I can see that it can affect players negatively if they fall out of it but on the other part there’s also responsibility for players to show that they should be part of the team – to start or on the bench to come in. I think we’ve had a difficult balance this year and I’ve obviously come in at the back end of that.”