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Obviously, Frank Lampard isn’t the problem, but the real Chelsea culture

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As fans, we seldom think about a club’s issues and associate them with something other than either the manager or the players. In the case of Chelsea, however, the problem is much bigger than a select few individuals—unless, of course, those people are the club’s key decision makers.

The Blues’ board is unknowingly to blame for the team’s struggles, dating back to the days before Roman Abramovich even purchased the club.

Chelsea has employed just three managers for four years or more since the beginning of the 1960s: Tommy Docherty (’61-67), Dave Sexton (’67-74) and John Neal (’81-85). No manager has come close to joining that club since Claudio Ranieri (199 matches) and Jose Mourinho’s (185 matches) stints in charge from 2000/07. The Blues have also had nine managers over the last 10 years, during which time the board helped completely overturn the squad on numerous occasions. Yet, the same issues still occur, and we’re quick to point fingers at those visibly struggling. What if it’s those we cannot see that are the root of the problem though? Chelsea’s biggest enemy is not a rogue group of players or an unqualified manager—it’s the culture.

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Despite this, the Blues have been in decline since Conte’s second season. The sack culture—albeit toxic—was successful because the club was winning. That isn’t the case anymore. Carlo Ancelotti won the Premier League, Roberto Di Matteo won the Champions League, Mourinho won the Premier League, Conte won the Premier League and since then, Chelsea simply hasn’t competed for anything. One can blame Lampard or Sarri until they’re blue in the face, but the fact of the matter is, it’s a club issue now. The board has made too many managerial changes to keep making the same excuses and the sales of the old guard mean the scapegoats have left the farm. The club’s hierarchy has backed itself into a corner and it’s now time for them to face the music.

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Before going any further, it must be noted Lampard is not blameless. The young manager has made his fair share of mistakes and tactical blunders—nobody is perfect though. Chelsea committed to growing with the inexperienced coach and a few slip ups here or there were expected. Lampard has to do better, but in order to improve and dig himself out of a hole, he needs time.

One of the themes emerging from this skid is the players’ obvious lack of fight. The Blues have looked completely defeated in recent games, including—but not limited to—the clashes against Arsenal, Manchester City and Leicester City. I’m not going to pretend to dive inside the minds of the players in that dressing room. Truth be told, I have absolutely no idea what they are thinking or feeling; one thing I do know though is humans. I realize that’s incredibly vague, but stay with me.

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