Chelsea keeping it local for curtailed pre-season after Covid decimates tour plans

Matt Law
·2-min read
Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea and Ayub Timbe Masika of Reading battle for the ball - GETTY IMAGES
Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea and Ayub Timbe Masika of Reading battle for the ball - GETTY IMAGES

Chelsea are not planning any overseas or long-haul travel as part of their pre-season plans ahead of next season.

The Blues are likely to mirror the improvised pre-season schedule they organised ahead of this term’s restart, which means friendlies will largely be organised against local opposition.

Frank Lampard’s squad held an internal friendly between two Chelsea teams, while also facing Reading at their Cobham training base and Queens Park Rangers at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea are likely to arrange a similar schedule ahead of next season, minimising their travel and opting not to go overseas or travel long distances during the coronavirus pandemic.

The club had been due to tour the United States this summer, but travel and accommodation had not been booked or paid for ahead of the coronavirus shutdown so that trip was shelved with no money being lost or needing to be recouped.

Chelsea must travel to Munich on Friday for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich, which takes place on Saturday night.

Lampard and his squad will go directly from the airport to their hotel, where they will stay until journeying to the Allianz Arena on the day of the game. Following the match, Chelsea will travel straight to the airport to fly home.

With press conferences currently held via video link, Lampard and Antonio Rudiger can do their pre-match briefing from the hotel, rather than having to make an unnecessary trip to the Bayern stadium.

Lampard will be without at least five first-team players as Chelsea attempt to make a miracle comeback from their 3-0 first-leg defeat. Jorginho and Marcos Alonso are both suspended, while captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Christian Pulisic and Pedro Rodriguez are out with injuries.

N’Golo Kante was only fit enough for the substitutes’ bench in last Saturday’s FA Cup final, while it remains to be seen whether or not Willian will be risked ahead of his anticipated move to Arsenal.

Lampard last weekend appealed for the Premier League to give his team extra time off ahead of next season, which is due to start on September 12, even if Chelsea are eliminated by Bayern.

The Blues are currently facing a break in which they will have less than five weeks to give their players some time off and then prepare for the new term.