Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confessed that he gave the club’s board the chance to rethink their decision to sack Frank Lampard and appoint him back in January.
The Blues’ dismissal of Lampard, one of the greatest players in club history, was met with real animosity from a section of supporters, although their decision ended up being justified as Tuchel led Chelsea to Champions League glory after just four months.
In fact, dismissing Lampard was so controversial that Tuchel admitted that even he was unsure about replacing the club legend, giving them one final chance to rethink their decision before he put pen to paper.
“I actually said to the board in the first phone call, ‘are you sure about doing this? [The fans] will not like you, maybe he deserves more time’,” he told Sky Sports. “When I think about Chelsea, I think about Frank Lampard, John Terry, Petr Cech, Didier Drogba. I think about [Lampard] in the very first moment.
“He embodies everything Chelsea stands for. He’s a hard worker, an aggressive player, a big leader, but at the same time, he’s a normal guy on the pitch and such a team player. A true, true legend.
“But I clearly understood that the choice [to sack Lampard] was made. The chance was take it or leave it.
“I hoped for a fair chance with the players, because when you step in, of course not everybody will be happy. You cannot expect everybody to be happy with the manager going. [Lampard] had a good Champions League group stage, had good results and performances, but sometimes he just got unlucky.
“I said very early, ‘listen guys, I did not push him out. I’m just here now to continue things in my own way, so let’s try to be open and give each other a chance’.”
Tuchel quickly made a point of giving every player the chance to prove themselves, welcoming the likes of left-back Marcos Alonso and midfielder Jorginho back in from the cold, and the pair played huge roles as Chelsea stunned Europe en route to winning the ultimate prize.