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Lampard wary of pushing Chelsea players too hard during virus lay-off


London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes it is unrealistic to “push and push” players to maintain their fitness levels during the coronavirus pandemic with no concrete timetable as to when football will return.

Football in England has been suspended until at least April 30, but that date is expected to be pushed back at a meeting of Premier League clubs next week.

The Blues squad are continuing to train at home in line with government guidelines on social distancing.

“It is very difficult at the moment because we have got nothing concrete in front of us,” Lampard said in a FaceTime interview with Chelsea’s 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 for no reason.”

Chelsea staff were forced to self-isolate two weeks ago after Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the virus.

The England international has recovered well and has posted several social media updates on how he is maintaining his fitness.

Other players such as Brazilian international Willian were allowed to return home to be closer to their families.

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

“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.”

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