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Mourinho backs Lampard on fixture issue

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has backed the claims of midfielder Frank Lampard that the Premier League has to do more to help clubs in Europe with fixture schedules.

The Blues have little recovery time following their midweek Champions League trip to Istanbul, having arrived back in the early hours of Thursday, before heading into the west London derby with Fulham at Craven Cottage this afternoon.

Mourinho's squad trained at Stamford Bridge yesterday before the players headed off to their usual pre-match hotel at Chelsea Harbour.

Clubs who play in the Europa League on Thursdays are allowed to push their next domestic matches back to a Sunday kick-off, but there is no such dispensation for Champions League fixtures. The Portuguese manager, whose side are top of the Premier League, insists Lampard was right to speak out against what he sees as poor planning, with little consideration for fatigue on players.

"We all prefer to play game after game after game, but we all want to play game after game with conditions to recover, with equal conditions for every team, and no sense that a team has a privilege in the choices, and every team in the same country has the same privilege to be a little bit protected in relation to European matches," said Mourinho, who will assess the fatigue levels of his squad before making a final team selection. "It makes the players' job difficult, not my job. I can play a match every day, it is not a problem for me or the people who make the fixtures. I don't run, they don't run. It's difficult for the players.

"When a player like Frank Lampard, who has a right to speak and has played an unbelievable number of seasons and matches in this club, and over 100 times for England, and is not the kind of player who is trying to give an opinion all the time, so when a player like him expresses his feelings about that, this country should listen."


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