Tuchel takes on formidable task as Lampard bids sad farewell
There has been divided opinion on the sacking of Frank Lampard and only time will tell if Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has made the correct decision.
For many, the firing of the Chelsea manager, although half-expected, still seemed premature and a classic example of the prevailing ruthlessness in this results-oriented business.
Lampard's replacement, Thomas Tuchel, had a swift taste of what he is up against when he watched his new team fail to score against Wolves at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Despite having plenty of possession, there was far too much sideways passing and far too few goal-scoring opportunities.
The rather poignant "In Frank We Trust" poster in the stands was a pertinent reminder of how quickly things can change. Tuchel was quite animated on the touchline and his body language could be entertaining in the coming weeks.
After the game, the German said he was pleased with what he saw, despite there being little to savour.
"I am excited about where we will end up," he remarked, a nice way of saying he wasn't entirely sure how it will work out.
Tuchel is a respected, but complex character and was involved in clashes with the PSG hierarchy which led to his dismissal last month.
Stamford Bridge could be in for some interesting times.
Chelsea will be clearly hoping Tuchel can get a positive reaction on the pitch from the club's two malfunctioning German forwards Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.
He gave the latter a rare outing against Wolves and the player showed occasional glimpses of what he is capable of.
Although Lampard's firing came as a shock to many, other claim to have seen it coming considering the Russian owner's record in such matters.
It's hard to escape the brutal fact that Abramovich had spent a lot of money on the current squad and Lampard wasn't getting the results that were demanded.
Maybe the expectations were too high for this season. It's something of a paradox in that it feels like Lampard had too many players to choose from, unlike his first season in which he did well with what was available, using academy players like Mason Mount, Tammy Abrahams and Reece James.
Since he took over in 2003, Abramovich has been through 14 managers, Lampard being the fifth longest-serving with a grand total of 18 months.
Lampard joins a long list of famous names biting the dust under Roman's reign, including Jose Mourinho (twice), Carlo Ancelotti, Felipe Scolari and Claudio Ranieri.
There had been considerable debate on Lampard's future, but the abrupt nature of the sacking shocked many.
Former England striker Gary Lineker called it "utterly ludicrous," while the first reaction from former England star Michael Owen was "madness," and ex-England defender Rio Ferdinand called it a "knee-jerk" action.
Premier League managers expressed disappointment at the sacking, most of them aware that they could easily find themselves in the same boat.
Mourinho called Lampard's departure "sad" but did not appear surprised, noting "the brutality of modern football."
Commentator Ian Darke opined that it was "quite ruthless to sack Lampard at the first sign of trouble. It's like shooting Bambi."
On social media, most Chelsea players, especially the academy graduates, posted humble "Thank you gaffer" farewells for Lampard.
One of the unique aspects of football management which distinguishes it from other professions is that even when you get the sack for not being good enough, you are likely to get a chance to walk into another prime job. It's the proverbial managerial merry-go-round.
Bur while financial rewards are high, the mental toll can be even higher.
Lineker once commented "being a football manager is a thankless, hopeless task. It is a difficult job and most of them can be seen on the brink of madness."
You only have to see the anguish on their faces while pacing the touchline to understand what Lineker is talking about.
Certainly it can be a very lonely and depressing job. When asked who was his closest friend while in charge of Coventry, Gordon Strachan replied: "I am the manager. I have no friends."
Hopefully, Tuchel will not be short of friends at the Bridge.
A few early wins would help, but that is easier said than done. You can be sure Burnley won't be doing them any favours in tomorrow's game.