For a long time, Chelsea chased after the success of Manchester United. Specifically, the Manchester United of Sir Alex Ferguson. There is no shame in saying that. Every club in the world wanted a manager who would stay for decades and bring success almost every year.
But Chelsea couldn’t be that club. If a manager started to struggle, he would be fired. The idea of ââa long-term manager faded, resuming only briefly with “what ifs” surrounding the return of Jose Mourinho or the victory of Antonio Conte.
However, not everything was going well at United. They continue their past successes since Ferguson retired. The closest they got, whether they admit it or not, was when Mourinho was their manager. Mourinho did like him and burned bridges. He left United, after years in their own wilderness, in search of their soul.
They apparently found him with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He came into the club, a former player but an inexperienced manager, and made United feel like United again. He was hardly the first former player-turned-coach in the world, but his accomplishments have given many clubs pause for thought.
Chelsea was one of those clubs. When Maurizio Sarri stepped down to go to Juventus, and with a transfer ban coming, the Blues knew they needed someone to bring back some of the club’s soul. The Blues have followed United’s lead. Frank Lampard returned and started making Chelsea feel like Chelsea again.
With that he succeeded. Although internet trolls will mourn the disaster of Lampard’s tenure, it was a success. He gave Chelsea back the feeling of being himself and he laid a foundation that will continue for years to come. But, when the results turned against Lampard, Chelsea did something United were reluctant to do: they sacked Lampard.
Thomas Tuchel was fantastic. It continued the sense of well-being that Lampard started and took it to another level. But more than anything, let’s talk about how it happened. It’s pretty clear that Chelsea started the process of hiring Tuchel before sacking Lampard. Lampard, whether he is a legend, has not prompted a struggle with the Chelsea board. They knew that something had to change and that there was no room for feelings.
United did not. There are about a dozen times Solskjaer could have been sacked but was not. This season alone, it has seen them miss Antonio Conte to a league rival. In fact, they are firing him now for results that have been in place for some time. They just sacked him when the manager’s pool is as shallow as it has been for some time.
So while Chelsea may have looked at Solskjaer’s success and named Lampard, they didn’t wait when Lampard started failing like United did when Solskjaer started failing. The Blues have a fantastic manager with a good platform while United will have a weakened base as they look for someone, anyone, ready to take charge.
The Blues followed after United. From now on, United will follow the Blues. The balance of this game is changed and United have failed, even though they ultimately made the right decision.