ROMAN ABRAMOVICH hailed his personal relationship with Frank Lampard – as the Chelsea owner made a first statement on a managerial sacking.
The club legend was dismissed on Monday morning following a recent slump in form.
He managed 57 Premier League matches with a record of 1.67 points per game, the worst of any Stamford Bridge boss during Abramovich's 18-year era.
Lamps departed with the club five points off the top four and still in both the Champions League and FA Cup, beating Luton in his final game in charge.
But the owner had seen enough and pulled the trigger – with Thomas Tuchel set to replace him in the dugout.
Chelsea fans rarely hear directly from Abramovich, let alone regarding sackings, but he released a public comment upon the sacking of Lampard.
The Russian said: "This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him.
“He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, the board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as head coach and wish him every success in the future.
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"He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
Chelsea spent more than £200million in the summer transfer window to bring in the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Edouard Mendy, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech.
But the German duo in particular have failed to impress since their arrivals in West London.
Lampard's final league game in charge was the 2-0 defeat at Leicester last Tuesday night.
Recent results and performances have not met the club’s expectations, leaving the club mid-table without any clear path to sustained improvement
Chelsea added their own statement with some cutting comments on the direction Lampard was taking the side.
The club said: "This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and the board have taken lightly.
"We are grateful to Frank for what he has achieved in his time as head coach of the club.
"However, recent results and performances have not met the club’s expectations, leaving the club mid-table without any clear path to sustained improvement.
"There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the club time to improve performances and results this season."
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