Didier Drogba is not convinced by the Chelsea ownership’s transfer policy with the Blues now “betting on very young players” over proven talent.
The Blues lost 2-0 against Real Madrid on Tuesday night in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final with a brace from Rodrygo giving the La Liga side a 4-0 victory on aggregate.
Chelsea are now out of all competitions and floundering in the Premier League with Frank Lampard’s side currently 11th in the table and a huge 17 points adrift of fourth-placed Newcastle United.
Interim boss Lampard, who has lost his first four matches in charge, is their third manager this season after Graham Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel earlier in the season.
Potter could only win 12 of his 31 matches in charge in all competitions with the former Brighton boss struggling to gel numerous new players into a cohesive unit.
Since arriving, Chelsea owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali have brought in £600m worth of new players over two transfer windows.
And Chelsea legend Drogba has been frustrated at their recruitment and wants to see more players who can “bring madness to the stadium”.
“They lack charismatic leaders,” Drogba told Canal Plus on Tuesday.
“We need players who take the game on their own, take their responsibilities. You need a player who brings madness to the stadium.”
Drogba added: “I no longer recognise my club. It’s not the same club anymore. There is a new owner and a new vision.
“Of course, we try to compare with what was done under the Abramovich era where there were a lot of player acquisitions but the choices were very smart. Bringing in a Petr Cech, [Andriy] Shevchenko, [Hernan] Crespo, Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, [Florent] Malouda and so on is to win titles.
“These were players who had some experience. Here we are betting on very young players, but a dressing room with more than 30 players is difficult [to manage] for a coach.”
When asked if he had any views on Drogba’s post-match comments, Lampard replied: “No, I don’t, no. They’re Didier’s comments.”
On whether he thought Chelsea’s absence from the Champions League would be short-lived, Lampard added: “I think the way that the Premier League is moving so fast, the landscape changes.
“To say that any given team has this divine right to be in the top-four and in the Champions League, it’s tough. Manchester United have spent time out of the Champions League, Arsenal have spent time out of the Champions League. Lots of big clubs have.
“In this moment, to try and predict what is going to happen going forward – will it be good or bad – is pretty pointless.
“But I do think we can set the building blocks now to where we want to get to. I’m here for a reason, obviously, because this season being what it is and this role that I’m in.
“Can I affect it in this period? Hopefully, yeah, but the bigger thing for the club will be that we want to get back to where we were. But the challenge is big.
“Every club is investing. Maybe some clubs are more stable than we are at the minute in terms of the squad. So I don’t think we can get ahead of ourselves in terms of moments like tonight where there’s disappointment.
“I know what it takes to get back from being here as a player for a long time and as a coach before in the Champions League. We have to set those standards high again and I keep saying the same stuff but only the work of the group and having a clear direction from the group is the way.
“Let’s see it. In my next seven games, I will do my mini version of that. If the performance can rise, I think it will give the fans a good feeling and give us a good feeling in the summer and I think that’s as far as we can look.”