Merson unsure whether iconic forward could cut it as Chelsea manager

Paul Merson was sceptical over the options Chelsea could bring in if they were to relieve Frank Lampard of his duties.

In his column for Sky Sports, Merson considered the candidates Chelsea might be weighing up were they lose to Fulham in their next fixture.

Lampard has already faced scrutiny following the defeat to Manchester City, and he responded by a selecting a stronger line-up than expected at home to Morecambe in the FA Cup.

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Despite the largely comfortable 4-0 win over the Shrimps boosting some confidence around Stamford Bridge, Chelsea need to improve their Premier League form if they are to ensure their manager’s safety.


Merson was quick to question the Blues mindset if they did relinquish Lampard’s services and was cynical over his potential replacements.

“If Chelsea don’t beat Fulham, should they sack Frank Lampard? It depends what Chelsea want this year.

“It’s alright saying: ‘Let’s get rid of Frank’ but who comes in? Do they go back in for Rafa Benitez? If you’re going to bring in Andriy Shevchenko, what’s the difference?”

“It’s the same as Lampard, he hasn’t managed world-class players, and will need time.”  

Shevchenko’s name arose after Le10Sport suggested Chelsea were willing to trade one ex-employee for another.  

The Ukrainian’s impact in South West London was rather ordinary to that of Lampard, however he still has connections in the capital, his son educated in Chelsea’s academy.

He is presently in charge of the Ukrainian national team, Shevchenko’s first step into senior management, guiding his country to European Championship qualification in some style.

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And although the Ballon d’Or winner has a glittering playing CV, Merson doubted if he could achieve anything alternatively in the job than Lampard has currently.

The former Arsenal midfielder insisted the Blues needed a permanent plan of action, whether that be under Lampard or elsewhere, continuing, “It’s not like you can bring in a Carlo Ancelotti for a quick fix.

“Sooner or later, there has to be a plan at Chelsea. You can’t spend £200m and think you’re going to win the league, it doesn’t work like that.”

The Chelsea Chronicle View

I would echo the uncertainty in Merson’s words. Surely substituting one fledgling coach for another isn’t the answer?

If that was the plan, then Chelsea must show faith in Lampard for as long as possible. I see no harm in bringing Shevchenko on as part of the staff, but that should be as far as his inclusion goes.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.