Football

Better fitness needed for Chelsea to play how Frank Lampard wants

New Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said his team will have to up their fitness levels, after the first match of his tenure ended in a 1-1 draw with Irish side Bohemians in Dublin yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Blues striker Michy Batshuayi, who spent much of the last two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace, opened the scoring after just eight minutes, but teenager Eric Molloy equalised a minute from time.

Said Lampard: "Fitness was our issue, we've been working hard on it, even this morning...

"The quicker we get there, the better. It's about individuals getting fit. Some of the young lads were really good.

"We want to get a level of fitness and intensity in their game."

A high level of fitness will be key to the Chelsea legend's favoured style of play, with Pedro Rodriguez saying: "We've been training really hard with Frank this week.

"It's very hard work, high intensity. We're pressing a lot without the ball, when we've got the ball, we have to move it quickly, and in transition (we have to be) very good."

With Chelsea serving a two-window transfer ban, captain Cesar Azpilicueta highlighted that Lampard is keen to give youth a chance.

The Blues fielded a young side in Ireland, including Dujon Sterling, Marc Guehi, Ethan Ampadu and Conor Gallagher - none of whom are above 19.

Azpilicueta told the Evening Standard: "He is very keen to give opportunities to the younger players. All the senior players... are happy and we are trying to help all of them.

"Frank knows the young players very well... We have the best academy in England and, obviously, it is a chance for all of them to step up."

However, after just one match, former Blues striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has doubts if some of the youngsters will make the cut.

He was quoted in Metro as saying: "Moving the ball fast is his idea of how he wants to play the game. The majority of successful teams do move the ball quickly.

"We saw today, especially in the second half, certain players were dwelling a little bit too much on the ball. They didn't have a solution before they had the ball...

"For some, it might be a little too much. That is for Frank to figure out, who those players are and who he will go further with."

While Lampard might have to work with what he's got for now, former winger Pat Nevin believes he could be handed a substantial kitty - from the sales of Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata as well as Champions League revenue- when the transfer embargo is lifted.

He told Irish broadcaster Off the Ball: "He is going to have a monster war chest in a year's time. He's got an entire year to look, to check, to see everything around him...

"This season, I wouldn't say is a write-off, but the expectation must, if they've any sense at all, be quite low."

Football