Thursday, May 13, 2021
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Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea FC helm shows brutal Roman Abramovich can conquer Europe again

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Great leaders do not have to be ­popular — but they must be decisive.

In taking the unprecedented step to explain his actions to supporters, the Chelsea owner acknowledged just how significant it was to ruthlessly axe such a legendary figure.

Considering he had twice sacked the club’s greatest-ever manager in Jose Mourinho and shown the door to Roberto Di Matteo, who delivered the Champions League, it demonstrated the regard in which he held Lampard.

But that was the only glimmer of sentiment from an owner who infamously shows none when it is time for change.

Lampard’s status among fans counted for nothing in relation to the wider concerns felt by Abramovich and Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia.

The pair were alarmed by a points-per-game ratio that was worse than any manager under the Russian.

The desperate form of key summer signings Kai Havertz and Timo Werner was equally as worrying.

And a run of five defeats in eight Premier League games meant they had gone from leaders to being in danger of missing out on the top four.

The brutality of Abramovich’s methods has frequently been questioned, but Lampard was condemned by his own results.

And while the owner was ready to give up on the Lampard project, the same could not be said of the campaign.

That approach has brought Chelsea unprecedented success — and after drawing Porto in the quarter-finals of the Champions League today, there is the tantalising prospect of history repeating itself.

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