Chelsea legend Alan Hudson has cast doubts on Frank Lampard’s ability to bring a Premier League title to Stamford Bridge.
The former Blues and England midfielder believes Lampard is “nowhere near” the level of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and criticised his tactics in Saturday’s tame goalless draw at Manchester United.
Lampard has come under fire for his side’s defensive failings after shipping nine goals in their opening five Premier League matches.
But his attempts to improve that record with a more cautious approach against Sevilla and United have also drawn criticism after successive goalless stalemates.
Hudson had particular sympathy for German forward Timo Werner who had to play a bit-part role on Saturday.
“I feel sorry for Werner in particular, because he’s making some great runs but not being picked out or spotted.” he told CaughtOffside.
“If that continues he might stop making them. I watched him against Southampton and for the last goal his head went down as much as to say ‘what have I got to do to be on a winning side?’.
“Almost every goal he has scored he has had to create himself which tells a story alone.
“It’s like Mane and Salah at Liverpool – if they make runs they get the ball, because that is how Klopp wants the team to perform going forward.
“Even after losing 7-2 (to Aston Villa) he hasn’t stopped playing the way that won them the Champions League and Premier League, and Frank is nowhere near that level of thinking.
“He continues to make excuses for mistakes from experienced players who are guilty of such defensive blunders.
“If that is so, he is not good enough for Chelsea’s bid for top honours.
“He got away with it last year because Liverpool ran away with the title and Arsenal, Spurs and United
“This time it will be different with Everton and Wolves improving and Spurs and Arsenal picking up again.”
Much was made of Chelsea’s attacking potency after the summer recruitment of Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech.
But concerns remained over the lack of strengthening in defence, and Lampard seemed to temper his attacking
approach after leaking three goals at home to Southampton.
“Frank was desperate to stop conceding so set his stall out to do so, therefore not having a shot on goal at the other end for so long, and in 90 minutes less than any other match this season,” Hudson added.
“He has now got himself into quite a predicament and is ‘stuck in the middle’. After two 0-0s he’s put himself in a very tricky situation as to how to go about future matches.
“The creativity was clear – there was none, and the whole team were tuned into keeping a clean sheet as a defeat would have been harmful.
“The strange thing is, even though they’ve been disappointing in drawing 3-3 against West Brom and Southampton
– not title winning form – they would have been 3rd had they won. But that wasn’t his objective (against Man Utd) and he was fortunate that Solskjaer had the exact same idea.
“This was a case of two very under-pressure managers … Frank will have had a long hard night sleeping thinking what to do next.”