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Chelsea boss Lampard furious playing 2 games in 48 hours: Prem chiefs creating unfair playing field

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has blasted English football's Christmas schedule.

Lampard has blasted the Premier League and broadcasters for allowing Chelsea to play twice in 48 hours.

The Blues face Arsenal at 5.30pm on Saturday before facing Aston Villa on Monday, a game that kicks off at the same time. The scheduling provides Lampard with a major headache as he tries to keep Chelsea in touch at the top of the Premier League.

He said: "The fact it's two games in 48 hours is an important point for us because there are other teams who are challenging at the top of the league that play two games in three days.

"Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool play two games in three days. It's counter-productive for the quality of the Premier League, it's a risk for players if they are going to play both games at top-end elite sport, everybody knows that.

"I know clearly what happened with this one as well because the games are being broadcast live, as they all are now.

"We play Arsenal on Boxing Day, that's there and our game against Manchester City was moved to the Sunday, so the schedule meant - and Aston Villa wanted this as well - that we could have played Tuesday.

"We both wanted an extra day to play, but we got overruled by the Premier League and the broadcasters.

"I know sometimes the blame can be put on the broadcasters and I know that in conjunction with each other, and this was bounced around, it got decided that we play twice in 48 hours when other teams that are challenging at the top of the league play twice in three days, an extra 24 hours recovery.

"I don't see how it's a fair playing field.

"I think it's wrong and it's not going to be the best for the players to play at their top level.

"Don't get me wrong, Aston Villa have the same problem, but I'm just saying we are not getting the rest period that other teams are getting."

And Lampard admits he will have no choice but to make wholesale changes for Monday's game against Villa.

He added: "I couldn't say what I just said and then bang out the same team and expect to get a high energy and high level performance out of them, necessarily fitness-wise.

"I think everyone who works in sport and speak to every club in the Premier League, sports scientists, when we play now, it's the second day after a game, when we will be playing, is a second day recovery because it's not good for the players to go and even train at medium to high level, let alone go and play 90 minutes.

"Everybody in the Premier League knows that, the Premier League knows that, so they have to inform the broadcasters. I will have to rotate players.

"I remember it from a long time ago, 20 years ago when I was at West Ham, so we've certainly gone back in time.

"In the old, old days they played back to back games, so, for some reason, somebody's taken it back in time when we have the best product in the world and we want to see the best players on the pitch."

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Paul Vegas

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