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Frank Lampard admits it is difficult to prepare players with no set return date

The Blues squad continue to train individually at home.

Frank Lampard admits it is difficult to prepare players with no set return date

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard accepts clubs cannot expect players to “push and push” themselves during the coronavirus pandemic – with no concrete timetable as to when football will return.

The Blues squad continue to train at home during the lockdown initiated by the government.

Given the current situation, the target date for a resumption of games from April 30 appears very optimistic.

Lampard, though, feels there is little else everyone at the club can do but try to stay focused on the bigger picture.

“It is very difficult at the moment because we have got nothing concrete in front of us,” Lampard said in FaceTime interview with Chelsea’s ‘The 5th Stand’ official club app.

“We have seen that things can change very quickly, so we can only go by the dates we have been given, at the moment it looks like May 1 or the end of April.

“But daily or probably weekly we are looking at it, saying: ‘well, how do we train? What does it look like?

“The last thing I want to do at this moment when the players are in this position when we don’t know when the games are going to be is to try and push and push and push (them) for no reason.”

Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek had been stepping up his recovery from Achilles surgery, but Lampard understands that is another issue which cannot be rushed.

“I suppose in a few cases, it is a bit frustrating because we had just got to the stage where Ruben Loftus-Cheek was looking like he might be ready to play soon, so that match fitness thing we were looking for, we have kind of lost that,” the Chelsea manager said.

“When you talk about people like N’Golo Kante, who has had issues recently and was injured and Callum Hudson-Odoi, then that has given us some time, so when we resume, hopefully they will all be in a better place.”

Callum Hudson-Odoi is recovering well after testing positive for coronavirus earlier in March.

Lampard said: “Thankfully he didn’t suffer too much and we are happy he’s come through this.

“Now it’s just about taking the necessary precautions with the rest of the squad, which we have been doing since he first tested positive and everyone is doing well in the current climate.”

Forward Willian, meanwhile, has been given permission by the club to return to Brazil to link up with his family.

Lampard knows this is a testing period for everyone.

“This situation has obviously been changing frequently from the start and it is all new ground,” the Chelsea boss said.

“I’ve just let them know that I am there for them individually because these are tough times whether it’s emotionally, physically everything we have to be there for the players.

“Motivation can be slightly put to the side. I think the motivation at the moment for everyone is how their families are, how their relatives are, how we all see the outside world, and sometimes the realisation probably that there are things which are a lot more important than football.

“However much we love Chelsea and are fortunate to do our jobs, this has certainly hit home for that.

“For me, my message to the players has always been look after your family at this time.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard hopes the current uncertain climate can bring everyone together
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard hopes the current uncertain climate can bring everyone together (Mike Egerton/PA)

“The motivation I suppose will come with doing the basic things you do to keep fit and live as well as you can at this moment.

“Then of course when we can get the group together and concentrate on how this is going to look forward, then the players will be motivated.”

Lampard added: “All this has shown that this is a much broader issue and hopefully brings all of us, supporters of different clubs, together, countries, people all around the world.

“We are all in the same situation and trying to stay positive.”

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