Frank Lampard has called for ‘common sense’ from the Premier League and has echoed Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s frustrations over the Saturday, 12:30 kick-off slot.
Chelsea travel to face Newcastle tomorrow lunchtime in the first fixture of the Premier League weekend and Lampard has questioned the ‘common sense’ of the division’s fixture schedule, criticising his side’s lack of preparation time following the international break.
Lampard has pointed towards the growing rate of muscle injuries amid a congested fixture schedule and has questioned the value in the league’s lunchtime kick-off, echoing the sentiments of Solskjaer who previously voiced his displeasure at Manchester United featuring in the slot following a midweek Champions League trip to Turkey.
United travelled to Everton for Saturday’s 12:30 slot before the international break after playing on Wednesday night in Europe, their short turnaround all the more puzzling given rivals Liverpool and Manchester City were handed Sunday fixtures having played on Tuesday in the Champions League.
Lampard has now called on the Premier League to use ‘common sense’ when considering fixtures with broadcasters currently possessing more slots for fixtures than ever before, believing the ‘product’ of the league will improve with better preparation and recovery.
“We are still waiting for some of the results of the tests that we now have to do as players are back from internationals,” said Lampard at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
"The kick-off time set us up to fail."
"It's an absolute shambles. The boys deserve better."
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is furious that Man Utd have had to play on Saturday afternoon having played in Turkey on Wednesday night.
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 7, 2020
“Unfortunately some of our players are arriving back this afternoon, some played last night, so with the 12.30 kick-off on Saturday there are clearly a lot of challenges for us.
“It’s not the best. If you talk about any team in the Premier League, we have been training with four players generally for these last two weeks, so the majority of our squad have been travelling.
“When you look at the scheduling, for me it is just a common sense factor. I think the broadcasters have never had as many slots for games as they have now. That 12.30pm slot, how much does it need to be there?
“If you look over the course of the season, at international duty, 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.
“Muscle injuries are going up across the Premier League. The numbers are there. It’s clear, there’s a correlation of game after game. Zero pre-season, the schedule is tighter, throughout the season we will have these really busy patches.
“If we want to look after the players and get the product the best we can, change the time of 12.30. That’s not difficult.”