Frank Lampard has revealed he was summoned to the Chelsea boardroom with an early-morning text message when he was sacked 10 months ago.
Telegraph Sport revealed Lampard’s dismissal at 9.45am on January 25, shortly after Bruce Buck had messaged the club’s greatest goalscorer telling him to move training to later in the day and make his way to a meeting with executives.
Lampard, speaking on The Overlap with Gary Neville, admitted he knew his year-and-a-half as manager at Stamford Bridge was over.
“We’d beaten Luton in the FA Cup fourth round,” said Lampard. “Then the next morning I got a message from Bruce Buck, the chairman, saying: ‘can you move training and come and meet us in the boardroom?’
“That first message as well… you wake up and think: ‘let’s have a flick through Instagram’. I’m joking but once the club makes that decision to be fair there’s no nice way to do it.”
“I knew straight away. There may be different ways of etiquette to do it but at the end of the day the result is the same.
“When I met Bruce and Marina (Granovskaia) it was very cordial. I knew what was coming then as well. Not at the time but you’re thankful for the period. They are going to move on and there’s nothing you can do there.
“I’ve never been in that position before so it was a bit surreal at the time but when you take the job you understand that that call could come. At Chelsea it probably will come unless you go and win back to back titles and that was never going to happen.”
‘We don’t want to be relegated’
Lampard worked under a transfer ban during his first summer as manager in the 2019/20 season and secured a Champions League place, exceeding expectations when he met with director Marina Granovskaia in the interview for the job.
“Marina said she would understand if we don’t end up where we normally end up. ‘We don’t want to get relegated’, I remember those words,” said Lampard.
On his time at Chelsea, Lampard felt that his squad was too big and he also felt he needed to make a change in goal as Kepa Arrizabalaga, a £71.6million signing, was struggling.
“We had a big squad and were leaving out players. We needed the squad to be, for me, less at that point. Don’t get me wrong. They went on to win the Champions League last season so it sounds a bit naff.
“It’s tough because we had three left-backs, and you can only play one generally, and five centre backs. Fikayo (Tomori), who had been brilliant for me at Derby and very, very good for us in the first year at Chelsea, I could see and feel he was going to be a very good centre-back for Chelsea for years to come.
“But he was in that development age where you will come out of a Chelsea team at 21 when there’s that sort of competition for places. But when you’ve got five it’s Fikayo or (Antonio) Rudiger, or (Andreas) Christensen, two of those are at home for a game.
“It’s not nice and you can’t bulls—players, saying ‘okay I’m leaving you at home but don’t worry you’ll be back next week’ if that’s not the case. I wouldn’t have wanted that as a player and it’s really hard.
“The squad was big and it’s tough. As time goes on, and the new manager is there now, you can make changes and trim but that’s just how I felt at the time.”
Lampard also says he is ready to return to coaching and felt his dip into the media after retiring as a player did not compare to the lifestyle of coaching.
“I’d like to think I’m a decent person. I remember saying some things about Pogba – and he is such a dividing character. I bumped into him when Man Utd played Chelsea and I felt terrible. I felt I was enjoying it but it was not giving me the real buzz I craved,” he added.