Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson was saddened by Chelsea’s decision to sack Frank Lampard and feels it was made easier by a lack of fans in the stadium.
The former Blues star was jettisoned on Monday after 18 months in charge at Stamford Bridge. He won 44 of his 84 games at the helm and guided them into the Champions League by finishing fourth last term.
Things began well this season, with six wins and four draws in their first 11 games. However, five defeats in eight matches sees the west Londoners ninth in the Premier League standings.
Chelsea are also through to the last 16 of the Champions League. They qualified as Group E winners and will take on Atletico Madrid for a place in the quarter-finals.
It will be without Lampard in the dugout, however, with former Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel tipped to take over.
He becomes the 10th manager sacked by Roman Abramovich and Merson feels the owner pulled the trigger too soon.
“You have to give Frank Lampard a chance,” he told Sky Sports. “He pulled up trees last season to get them in the Champions League, and they are still in the competition this season.
“They have had a bad run. They’ve brought in a lot of players and Lampard is working with the best group of players he’s worked with, but most of them play in the same position.”
Silence not golden for Lampard
Clubs have had to deal with empty stadiums due to the coronavirus pandemic. It means that home advantage is no longer guaranteed, with no intimidating atmosphere for away players to deal with.
Stamford Bridge has always been a stronghold for Chelsea but they have dropped 11 points at home this term. And Merson believes a lack of vocal support Lampard would normally have received played a part in his downfall.
“In this league at the moment, especially with no fans, it’s difficult,” he added. “When the fans are at Stamford Bridge, they are fully behind Frank because he is a legend at the club. It’s a different kettle of fish.
“At the moment, it’s easy street for the players. If the fans are there, they are cheering Frank’s name.
“They are backing him come what may and the players would see that and know he’s there for the long haul. They’d see what a legend he is to the club.”
READ MORE: Thiago Silva lifts lid on Lampard relationship