Unrest in the dressing room, new signings flopping, and goals being conceded for fun... as Frank Lampard prepares for a Chelsea reunion, his Stamford Bridge mistakes are only being repeated during Everton's relegation battle

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A lot has happened since Frank Lampard was nominated for the Premier League manager of the year award less than two years ago.

The rookie boss had an encouraging debut season in charge of Chelsea, coping with the club's then transfer ban by promoting a host of young talent into the first team such as Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham. The Blues finished fourth in the league and also reached the FA Cup final.

Yet the team's decline the following season was sharp and he was sacked in January 2021, with the Blues citing the absence of a 'clear path to sustained improvement' after a poor run of results and performances.

Frank Lampard was sacked by Chelsea in January 2021 following a poor run of results

Frank Lampard was sacked by Chelsea in January 2021 following a poor run of results

Frank Lampard was sacked by Chelsea in January 2021 following a poor run of results

The former England international is now in the midst of a relegation battle with Everton

The former England international is now in the midst of a relegation battle with Everton

Just over 12 months went by before Lampard was back in work, as Everton appointed him in January and entrusted him with moving the club away from relegation danger.

But instead of pushing up the table, the Toffees have only become more entrenched in the battle to avoid the drop. With six matches left to play, they are 18th in the table – five points adrift of Leeds and Burnley, who have both played two games more.

Everton's run-in continues on Sunday with a clash against Chelsea and Lampard will be under more scrutiny than ever as he faces his former side.

Ahead of the game, Sportsmail analyses the mistakes that led to the 43-year-old's downfall at Stamford Bridge and how they are only being repeated on Merseyside.

Everton's strugglers are now in deep relegation trouble, now cut five points adrift of saferty

Everton's strugglers are now in deep relegation trouble, now cut five points adrift of saferty

Shipping goals for fun

Even in Lampard's first season at Chelsea, the Blues were incredibly fragile defensively despite finishing in the top four. They ranked 11th in the Premier League for goals against after shipping 54 across the campaign – the most the club had conceded in a single top-flight season since 1997.

Despite adding Thiago Silva, Edouard Mendy and Ben Chilwell to the backline in the summer of 2020, Chelsea let in 23 goals in 19 games the following season before Lampard was sacked. They also made six errors leading to goals, which was twice as many as 18 other sides in the league.

Defensive issues have also plagued Lampard's time at Everton so far, as the Toffees have conceded 20 goals in 12 league matches under his stewardship.

Their 5-0 defeat away at Tottenham in March highlighted how severe the problem is, while they also shipped three goals against relegation rivals Burnley.

Everton's defensive frailties were laid bare in a 5-0 defeat to Tottenham at the start of March

Everton's defensive frailties were laid bare in a 5-0 defeat to Tottenham at the start of March

Perhaps being a midfielder renowned for scoring goals meant that Lampard was never going to be the best defensive coach, but his inability to organise a backline is consistently proving to be his undoing.

He tends to play a high defensive line, but opposition attackers generally find it far too easy to exploit space in behind.

Dressing room unrest

Lampard's relationship with the Chelsea dressing room severely deteriorated in the final few weeks of his reign as he became distant with some players.

Concerns were raised over his lack of tactical instruction and man-management at Stamford Bridge, as he reportedly did not speak to certain members of the squad for months.

Antonio Rudiger and Marcos Alonso were two high-profile names to be ostracised by Lampard, but they have both become key players again under Thomas Tuchel.

At Everton, Lampard walked into a dressing room that was already low on confidence and lacking unity after a chastening half-season under Rafa Benitez.

Antonio Rudiger was ostracised by Lampard at Chelsea but has since become a key player

Antonio Rudiger was ostracised by Lampard at Chelsea but has since become a key player

But it seems that the former England international has done little to alleviate the issues and Sportsmail revealed earlier this month that some of his players feel there is no consistent game plan and an absence of clear communication. Sound familiar?

Harnessing a fierce team spirit can often prove to be the difference in relegation battles and Lampard must act quickly to bring his players together in the final weeks of the season.

Openly criticising players

What hasn't helped Lampard's cause in either of his Premier League jobs is his public criticism of the squad following abject defeats.

After Chelsea lost 3-1 to Arsenal in December 2020, Lampard hammered his players, saying: 'It is not tactics or systems, it is "do you want to run, back your team-mate out and sprint? Or do you want to jog and say 'maybe I don't have to run' and we took that decision instead of the right one?"

'I will take responsibility on the outside but the players have to take the responsibility because the message was clear.'

He sent out a similar message after his final league game in charge, a 2-0 defeat to Leicester: 'Today has nothing to do with my individual selections. The individuals that were on the pitch didn't perform to the level that they can do. And that will lose you games.'

It hardly got the desired response at Stamford Bridge, but Lampard has still employed the same tactic at Everton.

Lampard publicly criticised his Everton players after their FA Cup defeat to Crystal Palace

Lampard publicly criticised his Everton players after their FA Cup defeat to Crystal Palace

'There is only so much you can keep trying to butter someone up to give them confidence,' he said after the Toffees were knocked out of the FA Cup by Crystal Palace.

'We are playing at the cut-throat end of football here. This is a cup quarter-final to get to Wembley and if you haven't got the confidence to play, you can quickly flip it and say have you got the b******s to play?'

Unsurprisingly, Everton lost their next two games as well.

New signing struggles

There was a level of expectation at Chelsea in Lampard's second season after a summer of free spending when the club's transfer ban was lifted.

A combined £180million was spent on Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz in a bid to bolster the Blues' attack, but Lampard struggled to get the best out of them.

The trio scored just six Premier League goals between them before his departure, showing flashes of quality but underperforming all too often.

Werner in particular looked devoid of confidence and a shadow of the player who had netted 28 goals in the Bundesliga the season before.

Timo Werner struggled to make an impact in his first few months at Chelsea under Lampard

Timo Werner struggled to make an impact in his first few months at Chelsea under Lampard

When Lampard was confirmed as Everton's new boss on deadline day in January, Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli followed him through the door – the former on loan from Manchester United and the latter in a permanent deal from Tottenham that could cost up to £40million.

Both midfielders have played in the Champions League and have previously shown the sort of quality that should be nowhere near a relegation battle, but they have barely made an impact under Lampard.

Neither player has provided a single goal or an assist, Alli is yet to start a game and Van de Beek has been missing for the last month due to a thigh problem.

In total, Everton spent £76million in January – the second-highest total in the Premier League behind newly-rich Newcastle – but have very little to show for it.

Dele Alli is yet to start a league game for Everton since signing from Tottenham in January

Dele Alli is yet to start a league game for Everton since signing from Tottenham in January

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