Preseason under Lampard has seen extra emphasis on physical training, in order to get the players in shape for another gruelling season that starts in about three weeks. It’s lead to very intense training sessions both in Ireland and in Japan, and he’s not ready to tone them down anytime soon.
First the players will have to gain a base level of fitness, and then, and only then, will the more tactical work begin in earnest. Lampard has clear ideas about those aspects as well already, with veteran striker Olivier Giroud hinting a lone-striker 4-2-3-1 setup, which certainly seems ideally suited to his link-up tendencies.
As one of the oldest players on the team, the 32-year-old Giroud will also need to become one of the leaders, and lead by example.
“It seems very clear that he wants the best from us. He wants to help us improve and he has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve. He’s a competitor, he wants to win every single game.
“We’re working on the tactics when we don’t have the ball and playing this 4-2-3-1 we have to know each other a bit better as well. This was the first time I’ve played with Christian [Pulisic], with Mason [Mount] and with Kenedy so obviously it will take time but we feel good. We believe in the gaffer because he’s the right man for this situation.
“He repeats every day that we have to take responsibility and we have to show personality. He’s insisting a lot on this kind of stuff, playing without fear but with confidence. I think we will learn quickly.”
And that applies to preseason as well. Chelsea suffered a shock defeat on Friday to Japanese champions Kawasaki Frontale. Now it’s our chance to set things right, against big European rivals Barcelona, on Tuesday. Preseason results don’t ever matter, but the attitude and mentality of the players can already be telling, even at such an early junction, and especially when the conditions are testing.
“I came here two years ago with my previous club and it was the same – very humid, very warm and not easy to play. Our opponents play like that for two or three months of the season but I don’t know how they do it.
“When it’s pre-season, it’s already hard but when it’s hot and humid like that then it’s very difficult even to make two runs in a row. They played a good game with a lot of ability. You could see their determination because they don’t play a Premier League club every week. We had chances, they had some as well, but they were more efficient so they won the game.
“If we look at our performance physically, I think all the players have done well. Our fitness at this stage is not perfect obviously but we are working hard in training to get better.”
- Olivier Giroud; source: Chelsea FC
Hopefully all this positive talk will turn into actual wins and trophies. Onwards!