Frank Lampard believes that Chelsea’s busy schedule is impeding efforts to resolve the team’s issues on the practice pitch
Due to a fixture pile-up that will see the squad play four times in 11 days, Lampard has had little opportunity to work with his players since being hired last Thursday. Prior to their Champions League quarterfinal match against Real Madrid in Madrid on Tuesday, the team and manager had their first official team meeting the day before last Saturday’s loss to Wolves. They arrived early on Thursday and will take on Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday at Stamford Bridge in an effort to snap a four-game goalless streak, the longest for the team since 1993.
Lampard claimed that the only way to address such goal-scoring issues in training is through application, but with so little time to spend with the team at Cobham, opportunities to explore for solutions have been scarce. Chelsea enters the match against Brighton with just four league victories in the previous six months, and it is possible to relate their recent form to the clubs’ previous meeting in October. Prior to their trip to the Amex Stadium, the Blues—then coached by former Brighton manager Graham Potter—were in fifth place. However, they were destroyed 4-1, giving Potter his first managerial loss. In the following 19 league games, there would be nine losses.
In contrast, Brighton has improved significantly under the leadership of Potter’s replacement, Roberto De Zerbi. In their quest to advance to the European Championship, Brighton currently sits seven points and four places ahead of Chelsea with two games remaining when they visit Stamford Bridge.
Their recruitment strategy, which involves spending little money on relatively unknown players and dramatically increasing their sell-on value while producing results on the pitch, contrasts sharply with Chelsea’s model, which has drawn criticism for its extravagant spending but has yet to show any indications of development.
According to Lampard, the two teams are merely taking the routes that best suit their respective resources and goals. Kalidou Koulibaly’s injury from the 2-0 loss to Real Madrid will keep him out for “weeks, not days,” according to Lampard, which means he will miss both the match against Brighton and the second leg against Real at home on Tuesday.