Lampard adds to the groans sur...


Lampard adds to the groans surrounding lunchtime starts

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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has added to the chorus of bosses not happy with Saturday lunchtime kick-offs. 

Earlier this month, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed his side were "set up to fail" by having to play a Saturday lunchtime game against Everton three days after a Champions League trip to Istanbul.

Solskjaer described the situation as "an absolute shambles", adding, "To play in Istanbul on Wednesday, have a five-hour flight and then to play first thing Saturday morning, it is tough."

Chelsea resume Premier League hostilities this Saturday at 12.30 with a game away to Newcastle United.

Lampard says he's likely to be without Thiago Silva for the game at St. James's Park due to the Brazilian's time spent travelling.

He's also waiting on others to be tested for COVID-19 upon their return before knowing just who is available to him for Saturday's match.

"I will be honest with it, Lampard told his pre-match press conference, "If you talk about any team in the Premier League, we have been training with four players generally these last two weeks and the majority of our squad have been travelling.

"Some are travelling just now, just landed now, they will travel again to fly to Newcastle, travel back from Newcastle, fly to Rennes on Monday, fly back from Rennes and when you look at the scheduling, for me it is just a common sense thing.

"I think the broadcasters have never had as many slots for games as they have now, that 12.30pm slot, how often does it need to be there? If you look over the course of a season, I don’t know how many times, is it five international breaks and you’ve got players going away.

"It is absolutely not the optimum way to have players preparing for a Premier League game, which is an incredible brand all around the world so you want the best of the brand.

"It is very difficult for us to prepare for this game anywhere near where we want to. I want us to play to our best but it is very difficult circumstances."

Christian Pulisic is another confirmed absentee for this weekend, with Lampard saying the American's injury is a problematic one.

The 22-year old has only managed three starts in all competitions this season.

"Christian had a history of muscle injuries before he came to us and he has had them again," Lampard explained.

"Everything about Christian, how he is around the training ground and how he prepares is absolutely perfect.

"We need to try and find the right balance between playing, training and resting throughout the week. He is a young player still and it is not abnormal, we will find a solution and I don't want to make more out of it than it is because we want Christian available with his ability, but at the minute he is injured and in the short term he is a work in progress.

"We have a great medical team here and we are very joined up in trying to get the best out of Pulisic as we possibly can."

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Chelsea Christian Pulisic Frank Lampard Lampard Manchester United Newcastle Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Premier League Pulisic Solskjaer Thiago Silva

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