Chelsea’s decision to sack Frank Lampard this week shows how quickly things can change in football.
Lampard was widely praised at the end of last season after leading the Blues to a top-four finish and a place in the FA Cup final.
The Englishman’s position at Stamford Bridge appeared to be safe for at least one more season. He was backed in the summer transfer window with the club allowing him to spend over £200 million on the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech.
It was a different story on numerous occasions throughout 2020 for Manchester United’s head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But despite newspaper reports linking the Red Devils with Mauricio Pochettino, United’s board – including executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward – were intent on sticking by their man.
Not everyone was convinced this was a smart decision. Indeed, many United supporters also doubted that Solskjaer possessed the ability to get the club back to the top.
However, one man who urged the club and the fans to back Solskjaer was his former United teammate Roy Keane.
Back in January 2020, following United’s 2-0 defeat to high-flying Liverpool away at Anfield, Keane got into a heated debate with fellow Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher over the under-fire Norwegian coach.
Keane couldn’t understand why Solskjaer was being so heavily criticised while Lampard, who’d lost eight matches, was receiving so much praise from the media.
“Give Ole a bit of time,” Keane said. “How long has Ole been in the job? Give the man a chance.
“I watched Chelsea last night, they’re a decent team, but they couldn’t get the job done. Lampard has lost eight games, but for some reason ‘Frank’s doing alright’. Maybe because he’s English, I don’t know.”
Carragher then pointed out that Lampard was ahead of Man Utd despite the transfer ban, to which Keane replied: “Look at Frank’s track record and CV. He went to Derby and didn’t get promoted, but Frank’s got all the answers for Chelsea. He hasn’t. Give him time. It’s nothing to do with Ole and all this carry-on.
“And the three managers before Ole, are you saying they don’t know what the game is about, Jamie? They know what the game is about.”
When asked by Carragher how long he would give Solskjaer, Keane added: “I’d give Ole certainly another year. One hundred per cent – another year.”
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One year later and Keane’s comments couldn’t have aged any better.
Solskjaer, whose Man Utd side are currently top of the Premier League table, has proved that it was absolutely the right decision to stick by him.
It was also true that Lampard didn’t have all the answers at Chelsea.
The 42-year-old now finds himself out of work, with Thomas Tuchel set to become the next manager in the Stamford Bridge hot-seat.