Football

Sept 12 start date for EPL too early for Chelsea: Frank Lampard

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said starting the new English Premier League season on Sept 12 is too early and his players run the risk of suffering injuries, given the short turnaround between campaigns.

Chelsea trail Bayern Munich 3-0 heading into the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Sunday morning (Singapore time) and, even if they fail to overcome the deficit, Lampard's side will have little over a month to recover before the new season begins.

"I am guessing we will be told when we start and that will be dependent on how we go against Bayern," Lampard told British media on Sunday.

"It is not ideal if we carry on against Bayern - the players need to be given a break to play at the level and the quality product that the Premier League is.

"Even in a worst-case scenario, we don't go through against Bayern, the 12th feels too early for me for the players to start playing again."

Cesar Azpilicueta, Christian Pulisic and Pedro Rodriguez picked up injuries during Chelsea's 2-1 defeat by Arsenal in the FA Cup final and Lampard fears other players could meet a similar fate.

"The players need a break. That is why we have pulled two hamstrings and had players pull out of the game before the final. I would like to think the Premier League would look seriously at that," he said.

The Blues boss will have a new-look squad next season, with the acquisition of German striker Timo Werner and Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech.

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz is said to be heading to Stamford Bridge.

But Lampard, who is also looking to shore up a leaky backline, will likely have to sell to continue his shopping spree, reported the British media yesterday.

The Times said that the Blues boss has made Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso available for sale as he looks to fund a move for Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell. - REUTERS

Football