• Premier League

Player power at Chelsea? What a load of crap!

ESPN staff
September 5, 2014
Frank Lampard: "Andre Villas-Boas and I were not very close" © PA Photos

Frank Lampard has dismissed claims that some Chelsea manager's sackings were down to player power - describing the notion as "a load of crap".

Andre Villas-Boas and Luiz Felipe Scolari were in charge at Stamford Bridge for just 76 games between them before Roman Abramovich's axe fell, with Claudio Ranieri, Avram Grant, Guus Hiddink, Roberto Di Matteo and Rafael Benitez also falling short under the Russian's reign.

But Lampard has laughed off the idea that the players had anything to do with it.

"AVB had played his cards and it hadn't worked," he told The Sun. "I don't know if he was too young or whether it had come too early for him.

Terry deserved his moment - Lampard

John Terry joined Roberto Di Matteo and his team-mates on the pitch ... in full kit © PA Photos
  • Frank Lampard has leapt to the defence of John Terry after the defender was the subject of much ridicule for changing into a full Chelsea kit to join in the Champions League celebrations.
  • Internet pranksters had a field day with Terry, who was suspended for the final in Munich, editing pictures of him winning other prizes such as The Ashes, the Tour de France and even The X Factor.
  • "JT actually took it all in good spirit," Lampard revealed.
  • "In his defence, he had spent the best part of ten years trying to win the Champions League, played all the way up to the semi-final that season and then got sent off at the Nou Camp.
  • "Who could begrudge a man like that having his moment? He had done so much down the years that he deserved it as much if not more than anyone."

"One thing I will address is that a lot of people said when he and Phil Scolari and some of the other managers left it was all down to player power at Chelsea.

"That's a load of crap. I'm being completely honest. Okay, AVB and I were not very close but I don't need to be close to my manager - but I am definitely not the type to act up.

"No one at the club was. Even Ash [Cole], who I know wasn't happy not playing week-in week-out, would never have run off and said, 'Please sack the manager, we've had enough of him'. That's plain ridiculous. We are professionals.

"Can you imagine what Roman Abramovich would've said to him? 'I pay your wages, I make the decisions, now f*** off and play.'

"It just didn't work with AVB. He then went on to Tottenham and had another experience which was negative. Now he's apparently doing pretty well at Zenit so good luck to him. We all learn."

Lampard described Villas-Boas' sacking as "a horrible night for the club". Chelsea had just lost 3-1 at Napoli in the Champions League - a scoreline they would turn around before going on to win the competition.

"It had been brewing for some time - there had been a few problems in the AVB era from the start," Lampard added.

"He was a very young manager and he had been at the club before. But he changed a lot of things all at once to try to put his own imprint on the club which, to be honest, I think he may have been asked to do.

"But it seemed quite clear that he didn't see me, Didier Drogba and, to a point, Ashley Cole as being in tune with how he wanted to do it or the way the club should go.

"I was in and out of the team and Didier didn't play a lot, either.

"I'm not stupid. If I'm playing regularly and a new manager comes in, brings in a couple of new players and then leaves you out for a good few weeks, you understand what it is.

"We then went to Napoli and he didn't play me or Ash while he had Jose Bosingwa out of position at left-back.

"It was a disastrous night. AVB went soon after, Robbie di Matteo came in, me and Ash came back for the second leg, Didier scored the first and the team turned it round."

Lampard is now on-loan at Manchester City from Major League Soccer's latest franchise, New York City, and could face his old club when they meet on September 21 in the Premier League - but the former England international insists he has no problems with this.

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