Frank Lampard insists his Chelsea stars will need a full pre-season before returning despite Premier League pressing on with Project Restart as he is worried about amount of time players have been SAT DOWN
- Frank Lampard has described Chelsea’s 3-0 defeat to Bayern as ‘defining’
- The Blues boss discussed the season with lifelong fan Dr Panos Theodoropoulos
- Lampard talked about keeping fit, both mentally and physically, while in isolation
- The 41-year-old also talked about the logistics of a possible return on June 12
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has insisted his players will need a proper pre-season as he wrestles with getting his side back to fitness for Project Restart.
The Premier League as desperate to get action back underway behind closed doors, with crunch talks set for Monday on finally getting football back on track from June 12.
However, top clubs have already thrown a slight spanner in the works by delaying training for a further week, and Lampard now admits worries over his players’ fitness while in lockdown.
Frank Lampard insists teams will need a proper pre-season before any return to action
Speaking via videolink with key worker and lifelong Blues supporter Dr Panos Theodoropoulos, Lampard talked all things Chelsea while applauding those on the front line for all of their hard work they’ve done during the pandemic.
Dr Theodoropoulos, who works as a heart surgeon at Hammersmith hospital, sat down to pick Lampard’s brain on the current campaign, the Champions League and what changes he thinks will be made once players return from isolation.
Lampard said: ‘It was really important, firstly, for me and the staff, to make sure everyone was mentally alright with this sudden change which means you can’t leave the house.
‘Once we got our head around that, we’d try and keep in contact with the players all the time but we’ve given them daily plans. They train in the hour we were given in lockdown and you can be outside, we gave them running plans.
‘They run and then we change the plans every week. We don’t make them run everyday, sometimes we make them come off it slightly where they can then do some strength work at home.
Robert Lewandowski (left) and Co put Chelsea to the sword at Stamford Bridge in February
Lampard said experience ‘put us in our place’ while he hopes it can be a ‘defining moment’
‘The hardest thing for us is when you don’t know the return – were so used to building up for a game next week so its hard. How many runs can you give them? So we change it up.
‘There’s some weeks where we’ve rested them a bit and then we keep working and staying in contact.’
With the Premier League being lined up for its long-awaited return on June 12, Lampard discussed the headache surrounding his players’ fitness levels and whether a month would be enough time to get his squad match fit again.
Lampard acknowledges that his Chelsea stars have been sat down for long periods of this lockdown – something he insists must be figured out before they return to the field.
The coronavirus saw football up and down the country come to an abrupt halt in March
‘They have been getting as active as they normally would be,’ Lampard admitted. ‘We will need to play that one by ear and see what period of time we get, whenever we do go back.
‘They’re talking about going back in smaller groups, which is how we’ll probably start and that will be more about maintaining fitness and then stepping it up. We need some form of a pre-season and proper training for three or four weeks.’
Chelsea are five points adrift of Leicester in fourth place and occupy the final Champions League spot currently.
They have nine games left to play and still have a round-of-16 second leg to play against Bayern in Europe, with the odds very much stacked against them.
Lampard admitted that the first leg against the German champions at Stamford Bridge – a 3-0 humbling at the hands of Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski – was a huge reality check after the excitement of some positive results in his debut season in charge.
Lampard has been keen to maintain his players’ fitness levels while they are all in isolation
He said: ‘I would like to think that Bayern Munich we will look back on in one or two years time and it will be a defining moment for this group because it was a game that kind of put us in our place.
‘It was like a “wow, this is a real strong Champions League team here”. I didn’t feel that bad after, disappointed of course, because you go 3-0 and the game is probably gone even with the away leg.
‘But you’re like that’s the level for the young boys, and a few of them were playing that night, and us as a team with our level of quality as players, especially in a team that are clinical with [Robert] Lewandowski, then we need to know that.
‘I think they played some really good games with Ajax in the rounds before that and going away to Lille where we performed under pressure.
‘When you look back at the season, our performances against City, we went there an lost 2-1 and played really well for big parts of the game. Every game we’ve played against Liverpool we’ve competed against them and they are comfortably the best team [in the Premier League].’