Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl would do a “fine job” at Chelsea reckons former Saints striker Kevin Phillips. Frank Lampard finds himself under pressure at Stamford Bridge and it has been suggested he could be axed if results do not improve immediately in the league.
The Londoners have only won two of their last eight top-flight matches and have lost five of them, including their 2-0 defeat to Leicester in midweek.
That has left them well adrift of league leaders Manchester United, who have accumulated 11 points more than Lampard’s charges despite their £220million summer spend.
Hasenhuttl’s Southampton meanwhile are 10th in the Premier League but just two points behind the Blues having played one game less.
Should they win their extra game, Southampton will only be two points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, who occupy the final Champions League spot after 19 games.
And the south coast club knocked FA Cup holders Arsenal out of the cup on Saturday with a 1-0 St Mary’s victory having enjoyed a fine season so far.
The performances of the Saints have fuelled talk that Hasenhuttl, 53, is destined for a top six job in the future.
Phillips thinks the highly-rated Austrian coach, who previously managed RB Leipzig before taking over at Southampton, has a similar to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp who has been a huge success at Anfield, delivering their first league title in 30 years in addition to a Champions League triumph.
Hasenhuttl was visibly emotional after his Southampton team but reigning Premier League champions Liverpool 1-0 at home earlier this month.
And the former striker, who scored 22 goals in 64 Premier League games for Southampton, is confident that Hasenhuttl would be a good replacement for Lampard, though would prefer to see his old England team-mate shown patience at Chelsea.
“I think he’s almost got that Klopp appearance about him, that authority. He’s a big guy, he’s very intelligent, he knows the game inside out,” Phillips said of Hasenhuttl on Stadium Astro.
“The big thing for the club is, can they keep hold of him? The biggest problem is keeping hold of their manager.
“He’s doing a really good job down on the south coast. I wouldn’t like to see Frank lose his job, I don’t like to see any manager lose their job but I understand football’s football and it’s a results business.
“No bigger so than Chelsea, when you’ve spent that kind of money you’re going to come under pressure to win football matches, it’s as simple as that.
“Hasenhuttl, his time will come. He just has to keep doing what he’s doing. Hasenhuttl at Chelsea would do a fine job but I want to see Frank given a chance for sure.
“He could certainly manage any of the teams in the Premier League, it just depends what kind of ambition he has.
“But I think at the moment if you sat him down and asked him, I think he’s very happy where he is. It takes a while to build up what he’s done.
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“But if Chelsea come knocking on the door, it’s the same as a player, it can be very hard to turn down.
“It’ll be interesting in the summer to see what happens regarding the manager and a few of the players down at Southampton.”
Discussing his future at Chelsea on Friday, Lampard declared of speculation: “I don’t listen to it. It’s only everywhere if you want to scroll through social media or something, but I don’t do that.
“I’m not stupid, I know the pressures that come with managing a top football club, but I just do my job, it doesn’t matter to me.
“My concern is not the pressure on me because I can deal with it because I’ve been in football a long, long time as a player at a top club so I understand how it goes.
“It’s different as a player, but the pressure needs to be positive on the players because the players are what make you a good manager or not so good manager and that can slip very quickly as we always see.
“So it’s important that the players don’t feel that. I don’t mind taking that, the players have to feel the good pressure.
“We want to win games, get some form back, you know how quickly results and form can turn in this league. We are seeing it now more than ever so we just have to direct that pressure in the right way on the pitch.”