Chelsea manager Frank Lampard against increasing Champions League group games

On Thursday, discussions over how the European competition could look from 2024-25 onwards continued. Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, who is also the chairman of the European Club Association, has proposed a format which would lead to an increased number of group stage matches, promotion and relegation between European competitions and an increase in the number of teams qualifying for Europe based on continental rather than domestic performance.

European Leagues, the body which represents 36 professional leagues across 29 countries, has described Agnelli’s proposal as a ‘closed league’ and is working with clubs and its member leagues on alternative principles to underpin the future format.

Key to that, in the view of European Leagues, is the primacy of domestic football and limiting the number of continental club matches at its current level, and Lampard could not envisage a way in which more matches could be accommodated.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Asked whether he would like more European games at the expense of playing in the League Cup, he said: “I have a soft spot for the League Cup because we won it a couple of times at Chelsea, and it was the first competition I ever won.

“Domestically it gives teams a feeling you can compete on a level in a cup at home, which is important.”

Chelsea welcome Newcastle to Stamford Bridge this weekend and Frank Lampard will be hoping to continue his recent fine form in all competitions after beating Grimsby Town, Brighton, Lille and Southampton.




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