Lampard defends Boehly after Chelsea owner tries to fire up troubled Blues

AFP , Monday 17 Apr 2023

Frank Lampard has defended Todd Boehly's "passion" after the Chelsea co-owner reportedly told his players the season has been "embarrassing" in an attempt to fire them up for Tuesday's Champions League clash against Real Madrid.

Chelsea s English caretaker manager Frank Lampard attends a press conference at Stamford Bridge in London on April 17, 2023 on the eve of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final second-leg football match against Real Madrid.AFP

Boehly spoke to Chelsea's struggling stars in the dressing room in the immediate aftermath of their demoralising 2-1 defeat by Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Chelsea, languishing 11th in the table, have lost all three matches since Lampard returned to Stamford Bridge as caretaker boss.

They lost 2-0 to Champions League holders Real in the quarter-final first leg last week and face an uphill task to reach the last four of a competition they won under former manager Thomas Tuchel two years ago.

A consortium led by Boehly and Clearlake Capital Group bought the London club from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich last year and have spent heavily on new signings for little reward so far.

Boehly reportedly showed some of his frustration at Chelsea's woes when he visited the dressing room last weekend.

But Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga said in a pre-match press conference on Monday that there was nothing unusual about Boehly's message.

"Todd comes to the changing room in every game," he said. "He had different chats with us after different games.

"I am not going to say what he said. It is normal when he comes to the changing room."

Lampard, who was previously Chelsea boss from July 2019 to January 2021, said he was happy with the owners having their say, saying it "shows passion".

"I am comfortable with that," he said. "For me there was maybe some criticism of our old owner (Abramovich) of not coming to games and not being around and that wasn't always true.

"But when an owner is very vested in their interest in the team and wanting to help and improve it's their prerogative to have the input that they want."

Lampard, who was sacked as Everton manager in January, rejected suggestions Chelsea were "broken" after such a disappointing season.

"We're not where we want to be," he said. "I think the word 'broken' is a bit much. The league position is a reality, we're 2-0 down in this game. Those things are just reality.

"We have to work against that and show in every way we can because we're in that moment."

But he said his team could turn their Champions League tie around.

"Anything is possible. We are a competitive team and we deserve to be here in this stage of the competition. We also understand that the opponent is really high level," he said.

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