Chelsea will let Frank Lampard “finish the season” claims Mario Melchiot, with the former Blues defender seeing little point in making another managerial change in the midst of what remains a long-term rebuilding project.
Lampard is in just his second season as a Premier League boss, but a summer of big spending in west London has raised expectations.
Chelsea are struggling to deliver with inconsistency holding them back, and more change is being mooted under owner Roman Abramovich who has history when it comes to wielding the managerial axe.
Melchiot can appreciate why questions are being asked, but he believes patience will be shown by a side that have placed considerable trust in an iconic figure from their past.
“I think they will definitely let him finish the season,” ex-Blues defender Melchiot told Stadium Astro of Lampard. “When you go after a new manager, you normally try and change things before a busy period comes.
“With Frank, I want him to get a fair opportunity. When you talk about Liverpool, Man United, City, it takes times. With Alex Ferguson, it took him a long time. At Chelsea it is a similar situation. Let him see what he can do.
“If Frank doesn’t bounce back from this situation then they can pull him up, but I don’t think that is the time yet.”
The Dutchman added: “The only question now is how long will this test take and how long are they willing to give him to make this test happen?
“I think the crucial period comes after a game like this [the defeat to City]. When you play against the big teams maybe you are off, there is maybe a big difference, but against the smaller teams you have to perform because if not, you get yourself in trouble.
“Chelsea has to make sure that doesn’t happen and perform well in games that come after the big ones.”
Chelsea’s next Premier League outing will see them take in a derby date with neighbours Fulham on January 15, with that contest set to present another opportunity to rediscover momentum.
Melchiot believes a positive response to the City setback will be offered, with the Blues still very much in the hunt for a top-four finish.
He said: “When you are a big club, you have to go after Champions League football every season. Those are things that are a must for Frank. Winning the league now, I don’t think it would be fair to say straight away that they should win it.
“First season, the ban, second season, bring in the players. I know people want to say they should win the league, but I think that’s a bit far off.
“He has to make sure he gets his team into the Champions League and after that, then it becomes a crucial test for him. I don’t think that has started yet.
“Now I want to see his reaction because people will start saying ‘ok, what is your answer?’. If you don’t have an answer to that test against Pep Guardiola and all the games that come after that, then you have a problem.”