Chelsea icon says Guardiola would ‘struggle’ to do better than Lampard: ‘Difficult situation for any manager’

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Frank Lampard hugs Pep Guardiola before a match Credit: Alamy
Frank Lampard hugs Pep Guardiola before a match Credit: Alamy

Claude Makelele has sensationally claimed that Man City boss Pep Guardiola would not be doing a better job than Frank Lampard at Chelsea.

The Blues appointed their former manager until the end of the season following the sacking of Graham Potter in April.

Lampard inherited an underachieving squad full of incredible talent and was tasked with helping the Londoners finish what has been a woeful season on a positive note.

This campaign has been worse than anyone could have imagined last August.

A consortium led by Todd Boehly bought the club from Roman Abramovich in May 2022, and the American billionaire has changed a lot.

He has conducted a completely unnecessary overhaul in nearly every department, sacking staff ranging from head coach Thomas Tuchel to the groundsmen.

Tuchel only needed a few signings last summer but was given £250million worth of players, before Boehly spent another £300m in the winter window, meaning an already bloated squad got even bigger.

The size of the first-team squad made Potter’s job impossible and has clearly not benefitted Lampard – who should not have been given the interim job in the first place.

The 44-year-old – who previously managed Chelsea between July 2019 and January 2021 – lost his first six games in charge this term before a 3-1 win away to Bournemouth on Saturday.

Having led Chelsea to four straight Premier League defeats and a Champions League exit, Lampard has received a lot of criticism, though he appears to be safe until the end of the season with former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino expected to become the club’s next permanent manager.

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Despite his horrendous record this season, Lampard’s former Blues teammate Makelele has claimed Guardiola and Jose Mourinho would have found things equally as difficult had they been given the job.

“It’s a difficult situation – not only for Frank – it would be for any other manager,” Makelele said (quotes via the Mirror).

“You could have brought in Guardiola, Mourinho or whoever you think is the best. But they would have struggled because he was dealing with very new players.

“He didn’t know their background and everything that’s going on. Frank accepted the challenge. The win last Saturday would have done some good and brought a little bit of happiness.”

Makelele added that Chelsea are not in a bad place despite being 11th in the Premier League with four games remaining, and has insisted his former club “will be ready” next season.

“Football isn’t easy – the strategy of this new owner is normal with different people coming in. We’ve seen many examples of that.

“You can look at Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain… Chelsea’s situation isn’t negative. It can change – and it can change quickly.

“We are building a young team. If you look at Arsenal, that’s exactly what they are doing. We need a bit of time. Next season we will be ready.”

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