Frank Lampard thinks his side won’t be ready to start playing football again on 12 September as he has called on the Premier League to go easy on Chelsea for next season’s scheduling.
Chelsea are fresh off a 2-1 loss to Arsenal in the FA Cup final in a match where three of Lampard’s players were hauled off injured.
Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta suffered hamstring injuries early on, before Pedro was suspected of dislocating his shoulder in what will likely be his last Chelsea appearance.
Additionally, the club faced issues before kick-off due to problems for both Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, while N’Golo Kante has been absent for 50% of his side’s games this season and was an unused substitute for the FA Cup finale.
Lampard thinks his side need a delay in starting the season from the Premier League and is concerned they are struggling to handle the intensity of the scheduling.
‘I am guessing we will be told on when we start and that will be dependant on how we go against Bayern Munich,’ Lampard told reporters about next season. ‘I do not forget that game; it is a big game for us. I am just maybe caught up on today. The players need a bit of rest before we prepare for that game.
‘It’s not ideal if we carry on against Bayern and possibly go further. The players need a break; they need to be given a break to play at the level of the quality product that the Premier League is. Worst-case scenario, if we don’t go through against Bayern, the 12th seems too early to start playing again.
‘The players need a break. That is why we are pulling two hamstrings and having players pull out before this. I would like to think the Premier League will look seriously at that and look at the start for next season. I think we deserve it, as a Premier League club competing in the Champions League.’
Indeed, with progression in the Champions League not expected after a 3-0 home defeat by Bayern Munich in February, the Blues look unlikely to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.
The FA Cup therefore represented the last chance of silverware, but Lampard thinks the future remains bright after a top-four finish in the league.
‘I am delighted with the season,’ he added. ‘I have wanted to keep that within for the last week because I don’t want to get excited with a big game coming up. We have to reflect on the season going into it; people didn’t expect us to be in the top four.
‘There were unknowns, transfer ban, other clubs around us are moving forward with recruitment. So I don’t think this result should reflect on that. You can lose a final. We have lost a final and that is frustrating. But there is a bigger picture we are working to here.
‘We have seen good things, but we have to understand there are things to work on. For sure, we should be, the players should be, proud of the way they have competed all season domestically. The league position is a huge plus for us.
‘Let’s get it right; not many people would have given us that chance at the start. Then we have to look at where we have to get better. Today showed there is plenty of room to get better.’
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