Mourinho claims transfer ban 'reduces pressure' on Lampard

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho believes the club’s current transfer ban might just be a blessing in disguise and help deflect any pressure away from recently-appointed manager Frank Lampard. Speaking before Sunday’s opening Premier League clash between the Blues and Manchester United, Mourinho suggested FIFA’s embargo will reduce expectation this season, allowing Lampard more time than normal to settle into the role.

Mourinho told Sky Sports: "The most difficult job is when you have pressure to win and everyone expects you to win. I think in this moment, with the transfer ban, that releases the pressure.”

"When you have that pressure of buying players, spending on players, and have a fantastic squad, you feel the pressure and this is a much tougher job.”

That said, Lampard may not want to check bookmakers’ odds regarding the next Premier League manager to be sacked. Lampard currently leads the latest football predictions to be the first managerial casualty of the new season with Betfair currently offering 10/1.

Chelsea may have a new manager but, if the stats are to be believed, it shows how old habits die hard, especially when it comes to bad luck – or simply poor shooting depending on your point of view. During the 2018/19 season, no team struck the woodwork more times than Chelsea, with 21 attempts on goal either hitting a post or the bar.

Champions Manchester City also fired 21 efforts against these metallic obstructions but the team from the Etihad Stadium had 76 more shots than the Blues over the course of the campaign. Fast forward to 2019/20, and within four minutes of starting the new season at Old Trafford, Chelsea had done it again. With the game still goalless, Tammy Abraham fired an effort against a post, and Emerson did the same just before half-time.

At the end of the opening round of Premier League fixtures, Chelsea and Liverpool share top spot in the hitting woodwork category. So if Lampard stays around long enough to outlast the transfer ban and utilise some of the money he has at his disposal, and there is at least £130m from the sale of Eden Hazard to Real Madrid during the summer, some of this should really go on a striker. Reports, however, suggest his first target is Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell, with Lampard prepared to spend £70m to take the 22-year-old to London.

In the meantime, the 41-year-old will have to make the most of his transfer situation, hoping a successful appeal by the club will allow him to purchase players in January, rather than wait until next summer – by which time he may have already departed. He must also hope Mourinho’s prediction is correct, and that he will be allowed time to grow inside the bubble of this frustrating transfer ban.