Frank Lampard has been looking forward to our third pre-season friendly of the summer and our first in Japan when we take on the J.League champions Kawasaki Frontale in Yokohama tonight.
The opposition, the best team domestically in 2017 and 2018, are in the middle of their season and will represent a step up in quality from the sides we faced in Ireland last week. The 72,000-capacity Nissan Stadium will host the showpiece fixture, billed as the MEIJI YASUDA J.LEAGUE WORLD CHALLENGE, with kick-off at 7pm locally and 11am back in the UK. You can watch live on this website and the Fifth Stand App.
It’s set to be an exciting game and Lampard has explained why Kawasaki Frontale will pose us a stern test.
‘They are a team that are champions in their league, a team that has energy and speed and also quality, and they will give us the type of challenge we need,’ the boss said.
‘It will be a great, competitive match against a very good team and an important part of our pre-season. It’s a pleasure to be here and we are looking forward to the match.
‘We are at a stage now where we have to increase our levels and our quality. Beyond that we respect the opportunity to come to Japan and play against the top team in the country and test ourselves.
‘To play against different styles of teams is very important because we have that in the Premier League and the Champions League. This is a start for us, but we need to start as we mean to go on.’
When it comes to his team selection for this evening’s encounter, Lampard suggested he will try and give as much of his squad as possible a run-out and continue to work on possible formations.
‘Pre-season moves very fast, so we must focus on finding the right solutions individually and as a team.
‘We are at a stage where as a new manager at a club I have to look at all the players in different formations, in training and in games. I have to give game-time to lots of players, as I did in Ireland.
‘You will see some changes during the game, giving players minutes for their fitness, but also I will be looking very carefully at individuals and collectively as a team to see how we work.
‘As pre-season goes on we will have to work more towards the team we feel can start the season and try to come towards the squad we will use for the Premier League and the Champions League.’