In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, Frank Lampard gives his reaction to suggestions the Champions League should be expanded, Rafael Benitez praises our current boss's successful move into coaching and Chelsea have been linked with Chievo Verona midfielder Enamuel Vignato.
These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.
The Mail today carries quotes from Frank Lampard which are a reaction to plans to increase the number of group-stage matches in the Champions League.
The Mail’s report states that a proposed reform of the Europe's elite competition - led by Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli - seeks to expand the Champions League route from 17 to 21 matches for the two teams which eventually make it to the final.It then adds that our manager wants the current format to remain in place.'The feeling is that you're in the ultimate club competition,’ Lampard is reported as saying, ‘and the reason for that is because you have the best teams from each league, and the best team from the year before that deserve to be there.'The year we won the Champions League we came second the year before. We know the format, we know what it is, but whenever you play in the Champions League you know you're playing against the best and for me that is the format and the beauty of it.
'As a manager I actually feel weight of games more than I did as a player, even though I was running around as a player,' he adds.'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.'
Benitez not surprised by Lampard’s success
Rafael Benitez has told The Athletic* he realised Lampard would go on to be a successful manager after working with the midfielder during their time together at Chelsea in the 2012/13 season.
The Spaniard feels Lampard's ability to read the game was a huge benefit when he decided to move into coaching.
‘Football is sometimes about getting an opportunity at the right time in the right place and in his case, he did well at Derby County and got some experience,’ said Benitez, who is currently in charge of Chinese side Dalian Yifang.
‘He has been given a big job and now it’s up to him to take his chance. Former players and famous players will always get a little more time but, in the end, it’s the same for everybody; they have to perform to keep their jobs.
‘I didn’t work with Frank for too long but it was not so difficult to guess he might go into coaching or management. You could see his interest in football but he also had the influence of his family all around him.
‘The position he played may have had a role, too. What was Frank’s speciality as a player? The timing of his runs into the box to score goals. Sometimes, you just have a job to do and that’s it but when you play in the middle and have to get into the box and decide when to go and whether it’s to the near post, the edge of the box or the second post, it entails a lot of thinking.
‘Being able to see and read the game – being able to think quickly – are important qualities for a manager.’
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Chelsea linked with teenager Vignato
The Sun reports Chelsea are one of four clubs keeping a close eye on young Italian midfielder Emanuel Vignato, who currently plays for Serie B side Chievo Verona.
According to the report, the Blues have sent a scout to watch Vignato in action for Chievo although we would face stiff competition for his signature with the 19-year-old also attracting interest from AC Milan, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich.
‘Given that Chelsea wingers Pedro and Willian's contracts come to an end at the end of the season, Vignato will certainly remain high on [Chelsea’s] wish-list,’ stated the report.
‘Italy Under-19 international Vignato has made nine appearances across all competitions this season and a total of 362 minutes.
‘He managed to make 12 appearances for Serie A for Chievo last season and his most memorable moment was scoring a goal against Lazio in a 2-1 win at the Stadio Olimpico.’
If the Blues are to make a move for Vignato, it would only come after our current FIFA transfer ban expires.