JUST IN: Chelsea sacks Frank Lampard

Chelsea have sacked Frank Lampard less than 24 hours after the club’s FA Cup victory over Luton Town, with Thomas Tuchel primed to replace him.

As the news, exclusively first reported by Telegraph Sport, was digested by supporters, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich took the unprecedented step of explaining his decision in the club’s statement confirming Lampard’s departure, something he has never felt the need to do before.

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Abramovich said: “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 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.”

Reports of Lampard’s sacking surfaced early on Monday morning after Chelsea’s players were told not to report to the training ground until 2pm on Monday afternoon.

Lampard was informed of his fate on Monday morning and Chelsea are now expected to announce Tuchel as his full-time successor.

Chelsea’s statement said: “Chelsea Football Club have today parted company with head coach Frank Lampard.

“This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and the board have taken lightly.

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“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.”