Frank Lampard wants 12.30pm Saturday kick-offs to be abandoned after international breaks as he raised fresh concerns over player welfare.
The Chelsea manager joined the chorus of managers hitting out at broadcast scheduling during this Covid-impacted season. Jurgen Klopp, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guardiola have all reacted angrily to the physical demands being placed on players in the face of a growing number of injuries.
Lampard, whose side make the long trip to Newcastle next for a Saturday lunchtime game, believes early kick-offs after players have travelled the world with their countries should be scrapped.
He said: “I'm concerned because across the Premier League the injuries are going up. Muscle injuries are going up, the numbers are there if the Premier League want to go and look at them closely.
"So it is clear. There is a correlation of games. Game after game after game. Zero pre-season, the schedule is tighter. Throughout the season there will be these really busy patches and if we want to handle them as best we can, if we want to look after the players and get the product as well as we can, change the time of 12.30. Change the time. That's not a difficult conversation for me to have.
“The amount of things we change due to Covid and Project Restart and now in this season that we have to change because these are incredible times, then we have to continue looking for the best way to change it. So the answer is: stop talking and act upon it.”
Thiago Silva is set to be rested against Newcastle after just returning from action with Brazil, while Ben Chilwell will be assessed after hurting his back with England. Christian Pulisic is still out with a hamstring problem, but Kai Havertz has recovered from coronavirus.
Lampard has also called for five substitutes to be reintroduced.
He added: “I know we had a vote early season. Nothing has changed in terms of our professional environment since when we had five substitutes after the restart.
"In fact, some things have tightened up, the schedule has become even more hectic. There’s been no relaxation around it and yet we’ve gone back to the three subs.”
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