Football

Nuno Espirito Santo adds his voice to call for delayed EPL start

English Premier League bosses will permit those clubs still involved in European competition to begin their domestic campaign later than the scheduled Sept 12 start date, says Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

The 46-year-old Portuguese followed Chelsea manager Frank Lampard - whose side are in Champions League action at the weekend - in calling for a delayed start to their season as the players are facing a shorter break than those not involved in European competition.

Nuno's side hosted Greek outfit Olympiakos this morning (Singapore time) in their Europa League last 16, second-leg clash. The first leg had ended 1-1.

That was back in March, before the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Wolves' European campaign started over a year ago.

The exact details of the EPL schedule for next season will not be decided until later in August.

It has already been decided in principle that all clubs should be given a minimum amount of time off, including those still in Europe.

RECOVERY TIME

"The Premier League should acknowledge teams involved in Europe that players require more time to recover," Nuno said yesterday.

"We are playing in August. I am sure they will adjust the schedule."

Manchester United are the other English team left in Europa League contention while Chelsea and Manchester City face Champions League clashes this weekend.

Said Lampard: "The 12th feels too early for me for the players to start playing again.

"The players need a break. That is why we have pulled two hamstrings and had players pull out of the game before this.

"I would like to think the Premier League would look seriously at that... We deserve to be (given a fair start) as a Premier League club competing in the Champions League."

Chelsea lost Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the eve of the FA Cup final to injury and Cesar Azpilicueta and Christian Pulisic to hamstring problems during the game. - AFP

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