LONDON — Chelsea sacked coach Frank Lampard on Monday after just 18 months in charge.

Former Paris Saint Germain coach Thomas Tuchel is the favorite to replace Lampard after he was sacked by the French club on Christmas Eve.

The club confirmed the move to dismiss the man, who had been a hero as a Chelsea player with a press statement, saying “This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and the board have taken lightly.”

“We are grateful to Frank for what he has achieved in his time as head coach of the club. However, recent results and performances have not met the club’s expectations, leaving the club mid-table without any clear path to sustained improvement.”

“There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the club time to improve performances and results this season,” added the statement.

Lampard was sacked in the wake of Chelsea’s 3-1 win at home to Luton Town in the FA Cup on Sunday, but with his club ninth in the Premier League table, despite a 14-game unbeaten run earlier in the campaign, which had prompted talk of a possible title challenge at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea spent over 200 million euros on new signings over the summer and Lampard’s failure to get the best out of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz is one of the reasons for their slump in form and his subsequent sacking.

Defeats to Arsenal and Manchester City over the Christmas holiday period raised serious doubts about Lampard’s future and last week’s 2-0 defeat to Leicester City was the final straw for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

“This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him. He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers,” said the Russian on Monday.

Lampard’s only coaching experience before being named as Chelsea coach in July 2019 was a season in charge of Championship side, Derby County.

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