Frank Lampard has been appointed Chelsea caretaker manager until the end of the season – just over two year since the club sacked him.
The 44-year-old previously managed the Blues from July 2019 until January 2021, when he was replaced by Thomas Tuchel.
His surprise return to Stamford Bridge comes after Tuchel’s successor, Graham Potter, was dismissed on Sunday with the club in the bottom half of the Premier League.
Lampard said at a press conference: “It’s a pretty easy decision for me. This is my club. I have a lot of emotions and feelings.
“I’ve come with a belief I can come and help the cause until the end of the season.
“I’ll give my utmost to give the fans what they want until the end of the season.
“There’s a lot of talent in the squad. I’m excited to work with that talent and to help them.
“Really exciting. I was there on Tuesday (for the draw against Liverpool), it was the first time I’d been back since I left previously. It was an amazing buzz to be back at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s a big challenge, but aren’t they all? I have complete sympathy for all managers that lose jobs. I’m ready to put my work into this challenge and take it day by day.”
Chelsea co-controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Eghbali said in a statement: “”We are delighted to welcome Frank back to Stamford Bridge.
“Frank is a Premier League Hall of Famer and a legend at this club.
“As we continue our thorough and exhaustive process for a permanent head coach, we want to provide the club and our fans with a clear and stable plan for the remainder of the season.
“We want to give ourselves every chance of success and Frank has all of the characteristics and qualities we need to drive us to the finish line.
“We are all going to give Frank our full backing as we aim to get the best possible outcome from all our remaining games.”
Chelsea have nine Premier League games remaining this term, starting with Saturday’s trip to Wolves, which is followed by the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie with European champions Real Madrid.
Lampard watched from the stands on Tuesday evening as a Blues side managed by caretaker boss Bruno Saltor started the post-Potter era with a goalless draw against Liverpool.
The west London club sit 11th in the table following that result, 14 points adrift of the top four, despite having spent more than £550m on new players this season.
PA understands that one potential front-runner for the full-time job, ex-Spain coach Luis Enrique, flew into London on Wednesday to meet with club officials.
In-demand German Julian Nagelsmann, sacked recently by Bayern Munich, is also thought to be a contender.
Lampard guided Chelsea to the 2020 FA Cup final, which ended in a 2-1 loss to Arsenal, during his previous managerial spell at the club, having joined from Derby.
Lampard, Chelsea’s record scorer with 211 goals in 648 appearances between 2001 and 2014, was named Everton boss in January 2022.
He was sacked eight days short of his one-year anniversary in that role.