B/R Football Ranks: 5 Biggest Changes at Chelsea Since Frank Lampard Took over

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportSeptember 13, 2019

Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard (L) shakes hands with Chelsea's English midfielder Mason Mount (R) on the pitch at the final whistle in the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 11, 2019. - Manchester United won the game 4-0. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

This season marks Chelsea's most dramatic overhaul since Jose Mourinho landed in English football and turned the English game on its head.

And while Frank Lampard's managerial expertise does not compare to the Special One's, he does have the rare opportunity to completely define a new mindset and kick off a fresh era at one of Europe's biggest clubs.

Lampard has only been in the job since July 4, but his impact on all areas at Stamford Bridge is already significant.

Here is a B/R Football Ranks look at the five biggest factors that have stood out since he arrived.


5. Club Identity

Word from within the club is that Lampard has made Chelsea a much happier place to be.

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A conveyor belt of managers, players left over from the different regimes, each boss with his own idea of what was needed to motivate the squad. It left Chelsea in a mess—they lost their identity.

Guus Hiddink, Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri are all different characters, and over the course of four years, the team's traits were constantly changing.

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - JULY 19: Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and coach Jody Morris after the preseason friendly match between Kawasaki Frontale and Chelsea at Nissan Stadium on July 19, 2019 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. (Photo by Toru Hanai/Getty Images)
Toru Hanai/Getty Images

Lampard brings another new style, but he's acting as a throwback. Chelsea are trying to remember what made them great. They are trying to recapture the buzz and mindset that first made them so motivated and driven when Jose Mourinho arrived at the club for his second spell in June 2013.

It's no coincidence that at a time when the club is dealing with a transfer ban, Lampard is back with Jody Morris at his side and Petr Cech, too, albeit in a technical and performance-advisory role.

There is a need to remember what the club represent. To rebuild bonds between those in the stands of Stamford Bridge and those on the pitch—and Lampard is relishing it. His messages, his public statements, his decisions are all driven by a central realisation that he needs to bring back that mentality that once made Chelsea the most feared club in England.

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4. Focus on Fitness...and Fun

From day one, it became clear that Lampard's way would be very different from that of Sarri.

One source told B/R how Sarri started work on tactics immediately, setting out the positional sense he expected of every player.

Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

Lampard opted for fitness instead. He got to work on showing his team the energy levels that would be needed to succeed.

Many players found Sarri's sessions dull. There was deep, precise thought put into every movement he expected within their build-up play, and that often led to lengths of time standing around.

Lampard has his tactical practices, too, but he focuses on making sure players do not become bored, so there is little repetition in his drills. Insiders say the players actually enjoy training now and the team seems to be closer as a unit than previously.


3. Making Everyone Feel At Home

As soon as he was appointed, Lampard made it clear he wanted the barriers to come down. In his eyes, there was too much segregation between the first-team squad and everyone else.

He felt it could be more harmonious, and while academy players have been restricted to their own building under recent regimes, Lampard insisted that would no longer be the case.

Players of all levels now mingle more frequently at their Cobham base, and insiders say it has provided a big boost to those within the youth set-up to know they are no longer considered outsiders.

Lampard and his coaching staff regularly take in the training sessions and matches too—something Sarri never did—and the path from youth team to first team now feels more realistic than any time in recent history.


2. Fast and Frantic Football

That focus on early fitness work was reflected in Chelsea's play from the first day of this season. So far, we have seen them press intensely in the first 20 minutes of games in a way that was not executed under the last manager.

The emphasis to play on the front foot from the first minute of the game is designed to get an early lead and then manage the rest of the encounter.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18: Christian Pulisic of Chelsea in action with Hamza Choudhury of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on August 18, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mar
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

So far, the results have not really come, but there is a clear plan. B/R Football analyst Sam Tighe explains: "They probably lack the cutting edge to make it count at the moment—so it's either one goal or zero, at the expense of around 50 percent of the match's energy.

"This is leading to consistent physical collapses by the 60-minute mark, then either late goals conceded or results getting out of hand like the Man United one."

Under Sarri and Conte, the pattern of play was clear, but Lampard's attacking emphasis has been a huge change—and certainly makes for more exciting encounters.


1. Promoting Young Talent

It is unavoidable—this has to make the top spot.

Last season, brilliant Callum Hudson-Odoi, 18, broke through in spite of Maurizio Sarri, not because of him. The former boss just did not have the care or patience to integrate young players with his superstars.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 24: Mason Mount of Chelsea celebrates scoring his teams second goal with Tammy Abraham during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Chelsea FC at Carrow Road on August 24, 2019 in Norwich, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ca
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Chelsea's transfer ban gives Lampard less choice over doing so, but he is going beyond the steps necessary to play academy graduates.

Mason Mount, 20, Tammy Abraham, 21, Fikayo Tomori, 21, and Billy Gilmour, 18, have already reaped the benefits of Lampard's appointment. Hudson-Odoi and Reece James will join them in the first-team squad very soon, and club insiders are convinced both will be regulars by the second half of the season.

This has the potential to be the most exciting season at Chelsea in some time. Homegrown talent is breaking through under the guidance of a club legend who has revitalised a supporter base desperate for success built on old-fashioned principles—not money. 

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