The former Blues midfielder leaves the club halfway through his second season in charge, with former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel expected to replace him imminently.
In a rare public statement, owner Roman Abramovich explained the decision. “This was a very difficult decision for the Club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him,” he said. “He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.
“On behalf of everyone at the Club, the Board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as Head Coach and wish him every success in the future. He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
Chelsea were 3-1 winners against Luton Town in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday and are still in the Champions League, set to take on Atletico Madrid in the last 16 across February and March, but their Premier League performances have underwhelmed following a summer transfer window that saw £222m spent on new signings.
Striker Timo Werner, midfielders Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, defenders Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva, and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy all joined the club ahead of the current season, but most have failed to impress, with Lampard failing to get the best out of them.
As such, Chelsea sit ninth in the Premier League on 29 points, 11 behind leaders Manchester United, having played 19 top-flight games so far this term.
A club spokesperson said: “This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and the Board have taken lightly. We are grateful to Frank for what he has achieved in his time as Head Coach of the Club. However, recent results and performances have not met the Club’s expectations, leaving the Club mid-table without any clear path to sustained improvement. There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the Club time to improve performances and results this season.”
Lampard’s return to the club as manager followed one season in charge of Championship side Derby County, with whom the 42-year-old failed to achieve promotion; the former England international saw his team beaten in the 2019 play-off final by Aston Villa.
Lampard’s coaching role at Derby was the first senior role of his managerial career.
Tuchel, who is expected to be announced as the club’s new head coach imminently, was sacked by PSG in December.
The German won two Ligue 1 titles with the French side, whom he joined in May 2018, as well as one Coupe de France and one Coupe de la Ligue. He also guided PSG to the Champions League final last season, with his team finishing runners-up to Bayern Munich.
Prior to that, Tuchel coached Dortmund between 2015 and 2017 – winning one DFB Pokal.
The 47-year-old’s time with Dortmund followed stints with other Bundesliga sides Mainz (2009-2014) and Augsburg (2007-2008).