Frank Lampard made a surprise return to Chelsea as caretaker manager until the end of the season on Thursday, just over two years after he was sacked by the Premier League club.
Lampard, Chelsea’s record goalscorer, previously managed the Blues from July 2019 until January 2021, when he was replaced by Thomas Tuchel.
The 44-year-old’s unexpected move back to Stamford Bridge came after Tuchel’s successor Graham Potter was dismissed on Sunday with the club in the bottom half of the Premier League.
“We are delighted to welcome Frank back to Stamford Bridge,” Chelsea co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali said in a statement.
“Frank is a Premier League Hall of Famer and a legend at this club.
“As we continue our thorough and exhaustive process for a permanent head coach, we want to provide the club and our fans with a clear and stable plan for the remainder of the season.”
The statement said Lampard “has all of the characteristics and qualities we need to drive us to the finish line”.
The former England midfielder had been out of a job since January when he was sacked by relegation-threatened Everton after less than a year in charge.
Chelsea have nine league games remaining this season, starting with Saturday’s trip to Wolves, which is followed by the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against holders Real Madrid.
Lampard watched from the stands on Tuesday as a Blues side managed by caretaker boss Bruno Saltor started the post-Potter era with a goalless draw against Liverpool.
The west London club are 11th in the table, 14 points adrift of the top four, despite having spent more than £500 million ($623 million) on new players this season.
Ex-Barcelona and Spain coach Luis Enrique reportedly flew into London on Wednesday to meet with Chelsea officials for talks about the full-time job.
In-demand German Julian Nagelsmann, sacked recently by Bayern Munich, is also thought to be a contender.
Lampard guided Chelsea to the 2020 FA Cup final, which ended in a 2-1 loss to Arsenal, during his previous managerial spell at the club, having joined the Blues after one season in charge of second-tier Derby.