Chelsea’s investment in Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, with the promise of more to come, will see Frank Lampard fall under more pressure at Stamford Bridge next season, says Chris Sutton.
The Blues turned to a familiar face for inspiration in the summer of 2019 when finding themselves in a tricky situation.
Maurizio Sarri had walked away from the dugout after just one year at the helm, while a two-window transfer embargo had been imposed on the club.
Lampard accepted the challenge of returning to west London, where he had enjoyed so much success as a player, and trying to steady the Chelsea ship.
He has fared admirably in that quest, with a top-four finish and potential FA Cup glory still on the cards, with a change in approach seeing considerable faith placed in youth.
The Blues had little choice but to adopt that mindset when seeing their hands tied in the recruitment market, but they are now free to spend again.
Ambition is being shown by owner Roman Abramovich, as he bankrolls another elaborate spending spree, but big money means bigger expectation for Lampard and Co.
Sutton concedes as much, with the former Chelsea striker telling TEAMtalk: “I think he has done a good job and answered some of the people who questioned whether he deserved to get the job.
“Arguably, Frank went into the first big job of his managerial career at the perfect moment.
“They had a transfer embargo to deal with, expectations were massively diluted and Lampard had time to get used to the job and the fact that Chelsea are sitting in the top four of the Premier League is a testament to the job he has done.
“Now, after the money that has been spent and the quality of the players that have been signed, there will be a very different pressure for Frank to deal with next season.
“That is the nature of the business we are in. There will be pressure when you are at a big club and the big question for Frank will be can they close the gap between Liverpool and Manchester City, who are quite a distance ahead of them at the moment. Those two teams are the benchmark at the moment.”
Lampard could end his debut campaign in a Premier League coaching post with major silverware to his name, with Chelsea readying themselves for an FA Cup quarter-final clash with Leicester.
They do, however, face plenty of competition for that prize, with Sutton adding: “There are a lot of big teams still left in the FA Cup, so it will be tough for Chelsea to win it.
“They also have a tough game against Leicester on Sunday as even though they have had a slow start since the return to action, they have players who are capable of hurting Chelsea. It will be a tight game and it could go either way.”