Gary Neville believes big expectations fuelled by Chelsea’s bumper transfer spending cost Frank Lampard his job.
Lampard was sacked on Monday morning, just 18 months after taking the helm at Stamford Bridge, with the club ninth in the Premier League table.
The Blues’ all-time leading goalscorer secured Champions League qualification and an FA Cup final spot in a successful first season in charge but though he was given more than £200m to spend on new players in the summer in a bid to close the gap, Chelsea are 11 points behind leaders Manchester United and five off Liverpool in fourth.
Sky Sports’ Neville admits he had hoped the Blues legend would have been given more time in the post – but conceded a summer outlay on the likes of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner had fuelled an increasing hunger for “instant results” and said Lampard had been “exposed to Chelsea’s model” when it came to managers.
Frank Lampard has been axed by Chelsea after just 18 months
“I’m not wholly surprised, as much as I would’ve been this time last week,” Neville told Sky Sports News.
“There were rumours starting to surface towards the end of the week that Frank was coming under pressure. When that happens at Chelsea, the end is pretty much a consistent one whereby the rumours start to come out and then it happens pretty quickly.
“I was a little surprised when I heard the news given that Frank has only had a short amount of time with a new group of players, but he was given a period last year when the club were under a transfer embargo, and that almost shielded him.
“He did a great job in that period but the minute the club started spending the money that they did in the summer and brought those players in, it was always going to bring a lot more expectation. We know what happens at Chelsea when more expectations come, in the sense that they want instant results.