Chelsea spent the first week back from summer holidays working on little more than just fitness, but as we head deeper into preseason, the level starts ramping up on both the training ground and in terms of opposition strength.
Facing the defending Japanese league champions in the middle of their season in a few hours will prove a challenge on both the physical and technical front, and accordingly, Lampard will start to assess the quality on show from his boys in blue.
“Pre-season moves very fast, so we must focus on finding the right solutions individually and as a team.
“We are at a stage where as a new manager at a club I have to look at all the players in different formations, in training and in games. I have to give game-time to lots of players, as I did in Ireland. You will see some changes during the game, giving players minutes for their fitness, but also I will be looking very carefully at individuals and collectively as a team to see how we work.
“As pre-season goes on we will have to work more towards the team we feel can start the season and try to come towards the squad we will use for the Premier League and the Champions League.”
The one major theme to emerge from the first ten days other than the intensity of the work has been Lampard’s emphasis on adaptability and multiple solutions before and during games. This was a feature of his year at Derby County, too, not to mention during his career, having had to play under too many managers to even count.
That’s not to say that preseason games are suddenly more meaningful than they generally are, but Lampard definitely subscribes to the idea of practicing the way you play (and play the way you practice).
“[Kawasaki Frontale] has energy and speed and also quality, and they will give us the type of challenge we need. It will be a great, competitive match against a very good team and an important part of our pre-season. It’s a pleasure to be here and we are looking forward to the match.
“We are at a stage now where we have to increase our levels and our quality. Beyond that we respect the opportunity to come to Japan and play against the top team in the country and test ourselves.
“To play against different styles of teams is very important because we have that in the Premier League and the Champions League. This is a start for us, but we need to start as we mean to go on.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Let’s get it started.