There is rarely a good time to have a bad month as Chelsea boss but for once Frank Lampard's timing has failed him.
Eighteen months into his tenure, results are failing, form is misfiring and information is filtering through the corridors of Stamford Bridge that the owner is not satisfied.
Roman Abramovich did not invest more than £200million in a record summer of spending in anticipation of performing no better than last season.
Pressure is increasing on Frank Lampard at Chelsea following a dismal run of formInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The big signings have not settled well. Timo Werner started encouragingly, faded and now seems utterly devoid of confidence, while there has barely been a flicker from Kai Havertz. The world's most expensive goalkeeper is a substitute, and marginalised senior players simmer with discontent as marginalised senior players do at a club where the owner is notorious for his lack of patience.
Perhaps more than anything, Thomas Tuchel is fresh from a firing by Paris Saint-Germain.
Tuchel has admirers at Stamford Bridge. The 47-year-old German has been in their sights before and has made it clear he is not interested in taking a break. In short, he fancies the job.
Thomas Tuchel, fresh from his Paris Saint-Germain sacking, has admirers at Stamford Bridge
He can boast experience that Lampard cannot, with Borussia Dortmund, developing young players in the confines of a budget, and with PSG, where money was no object but the egos and entourages were.
The lingering question of managerial nous has encumbered Lampard ever since his appointment. It provides the backdrop as every bad result is scrutinised for mistakes. Was it the right team? The right tactics? The right substitutions?
How was his body language? Did he say the right things?
There is no shortcut to experience and Lampard chose not to pack it into his backroom staff. Nor into his team, showing more faith in the youngsters than the veterans. Thus far, to his credit, Lampard has summoned a response to every setback and his status as a club legend has bought him time.
There was a dip at this stage of last season. Chelsea lost four out of five in the Premier League, won at Tottenham, improved and spluttered again before the lockdown brought respite.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Timo Werner has underwhelmed and seems utterly devoid of confidence at Stamford Bridge
Defeat against Arsenal in the FA Cup final was tough to swallow. To end the season trophyless can be fatal at the Bridge and yet to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League after a transfer ban and the sale of Eden Hazard had to go down as a success.
Mitigating circumstances remain: no pre-season, no time to prepare and organise six big signings.