Chelsea Manager Frank Lampard Speaks out Against Champions League Expansion

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2019

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06:  Frank Lampard manager of Chelsea celebrates victory after the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Chelsea FC at St Mary's Stadium on October 06, 2019 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes an increase in the number of UEFA Champions League group-stage games would negatively impact player freshness. 

Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, also chairman of the European Club Association, has proposed a new format for Europe's elite competition that would see the number of group-stage games each team has to play increased from six to 10. He has also backed the introduction of promotion and relegation:

Martyn Ziegler @martynziegler

Letter from Juventus and ECA chairman Agnelli to all ECA clubs confirms desire for a European pyramid with promotion and relegation in Champions League after 2024 instead of direct qualification from domestic leagues: https://t.co/syhxKrYwMy

In such a scenario, finalists would have to play 17 Champions League matches in a season, plus qualifiers if necessary, as well as their domestic league and cup games.  

As far as Lampard is concerned, that is not plausible, and the 2011-12 Champions League winner is happy with the format as it is now, per Sky Sports:

"As a manager, I actually feel the weight of games more than I did as a player, even though I was running around as a player. As a manager, you're thinking about how can you keep the team fresh, and it's a challenge with all the competitions we have now.

"If you ask me can we play more European games, I personally don't believe you can fit them in amongst our busy schedule. I would find it hard to keep the quality level and the freshness within the players. If you did do that there would be a lot of discussion about how that would work practically. At the minute I think the level is about right. I like the format personally."

Lampard, 41, won his first Champions League game as a manager earlier this month when Tammy Abraham and Willian netted in a 2-1 victory over Lille.

That win was part of a run of four consecutive victories for the Blues before the international break. 

They are back in action against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and will be angling to break into the Premier League's top four with another win:

Premier League @premierleague

A reminder... 📈 #PL https://t.co/EHdKFUCBwE

The Magpies are just a point above the relegation zone at the moment, but Chelsea cannot afford to be complacent for the visit of Steve Bruce's side. 

They are fresh from a win against Manchester United and have also beaten Tottenham Hotspur away this term.

After the Newcastle fixture, Lampard's side are then back in European action when they visit Ajax on Wednesday.

The Dutch champions made the semi-finals of the Champions League last term and are in brilliant form at the moment having not lost a match since May.