Lille v Chelsea

Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley was “naive to be out before a Champions League game” after being pictured in a row with a taxi driver in Liverpool on Sunday night, said boss Frank Lampard.

Barkley reportedly spilled chips on the floor of the taxi and had an argument over money, with police involved.

Chelsea visit Lille on Wednesday.

“In terms of permission I don’t expect to be asked for that. He hasn’t committed a crime, apart from eating chips in a taxi,” said Lampard.

Chelsea, who beat Brighton 2-0 at home on Saturday, and Lille both lost their opening Champions League games.

“I feel for the cabbie and I think he has been naive to be out before a Champions League game – he has admitted that,” added Lampard.

“I like Ross, I have had no problem with him and he has admitted he made a mistake. I will take that at face value and move on.”

Lampard says he will have to assess midfielder N’Golo Kante, who missed the win over Brighton with a hamstring problem.

“He has trained and got through it OK,” said Lampard. “That’s one we have to assess. We are positive. He has had a broken pre-season. He has had a few niggles, some bad luck. Everyone is working to getting him fit.”

Defender Kurt Zouma and striker Olivier Giroud are both available after missing the Seagulls game.

Lampard is not concerned by his side’s start in the Champions League, after they lost their opener 1-0 to Valencia with Barkley missing a penalty.

“I didn’t think Valencia was the worst game for us,” said Lampard.

“We should have got a result. With Lille, they have a lot of threats, speed and quality.

“It is not the be-all and end-all, we have to see it in the big picture, but it’s a game we have to be ready for.”

Former Chelsea striker Loic Remy and ex-Swansea loan midfielder Renato Sanches could both be in Lille’s team.

Lille boss Christophe Galtier, who replaced Marcelo Bielsa in 2017, said: “Remy was very good against Strasbourg [last Wednesday, scoring in a 2-0 win]. His experience is important in that kind of match.

“Sanches joined us recently, and he was very good against Strasbourg, but he still needs to find his feet. Both players could be useful [on Wednesday].”

Leave a comment