Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has suggested that the players are not fit enough in a subtle dig at former head coach Graham Potter.
The Blues have lost all three of their games since the Englishman returned to Stamford Bridge as caretaker manager and the task will not get any easier with Real Madrid the opposition in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Lampard’s return to the club has not gone as he would have hoped with the 44-year-old failing to oversee any improvement on performances.
The west Londoners have scored just once during his three matches in charge and were played off the park by Brighton on Saturday with only Kepa’s display in goal keeping the scoreline respectable.
The task will not get easier this week as Chelsea must overcome a two-goal deficit against Real Madrid to save their season.
Ahead of the match, Lampard revealed the reasons for the club’s slump this year suggesting his players were not as fit as they should be, in a dig at former boss Potter.
“At the minute, it has been mostly conversations and meetings than training pitch stuff,” he explained when asked about his team’s preparation for midweek.
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“Training pitch stuff was all pretty walkthrough and low level because of the [tiredness] in the legs.
“It is more about speaking to the players individually. When we do get the chance to work, I think the team needs some physical work. I think that’s important for us because at this level you have to be right on the limit and we are not on the limit right now.
“I think that can be a capacity thing with the players for whatever reason. It doesn’t matter how we got there but it needs to be addressed now.”
But, Lampard was keen to defend his players over allegations that they lacked hunger, instead saying their lack of fitness meant they just lack confidence and it looked like they did not want it as much as their opposing teams.
“I think maybe when some players are lacking confidence then it can be seen as a hunger thing,” he said. “When you are a yard short, you are just a yard short. Or when you are receiving the ball and not confident, you take your first touch backwards.
“That can sometimes feel like a hunger or lack of passion thing but I don’t feel that. I feel like the players are hungry to be successful as Chelsea players.”