Frank Lampard made a losing return to the Chelsea hot-seat as Wolverhampton Wanderers eased their relegation worries with a hard-earned victory.
Chelsea legend Lampard was predictably given a rapturous reception from the traveling fans at Molineux following his appointment as interim head coach 27 months after being sacked as the club’s full-time manager.
Yet the club’s all-time record scorer was unable to stop the poor form that led to Graham Potter’s sacking as mid-table Chelsea slumped to an 11th top-flight defeat of the season after failing to score for the third successive game.
Wolves were on the front-foot throughout and deserved their win which came after a sweet finish by Matheus Nunes, the Portugal midfielder’s first goal for the club since joining from Sporting Lisbon last August.
Nunes, who cost a club record £38m, beat Kepa Arrizabalaga with a fierce attempt from the tightest of angles after an attempted headed clearance by Kalidou Koulibaly.
Joao Felix forced a save from Jose Sa but Chelsea were disappointing and remain 11th after just two wins in 11 league games.
Lampard made it clear he wants to give supporters a team they are proud of after his stop-gap appointment, a move that buys Chelsea’s hierarchy time to get the next permanent appointment right.
Unfortunately it was the same old story for the Blues as they failed to score for the 12th time in the Premier League this season.
Lampard brought Raheem Sterling and Conor Gallagher back into the starting line-up but, on another frustrating day, both players picked up yellow cards and failed to make an impact.
There was also a rare sighting off the bench of striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, his first action since 26 February, but he could not help the team avoid continuing their dismal run of just one win on the road in the league since 16 October.
Lampard is looking to use this short-term opportunity to repair his reputation after damaging sackings at Chelsea and Everton and land himself a permanent job elsewhere in the Premier League for next season.
If he is to do that, much better will be required going forward – starting with Wednesday’s trip to Real Madrid for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
Lampard was originally due to be at the Bernabeu as a television pundit but instead now finds himself plotting to bring down the champions of Europe after his surprise appointment.
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