Aston Villa have signed attacking midfielder Ross Barkley on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea.

Barkley had made three appearances for Frank Lampard's side in the early stages of the new campaign – scoring in last week's EFL Cup win over Barnsley – but will now spend 2020-21 with Villa.

Villa boss Dean Smith described the signing as "a real coup" as his in-form team look to build on their narrow Premier League survival last season.

Barkley, 26, joined Chelsea from Everton in January 2018 and has been part of squads who have won the FA Cup and Europa League.

However, he has started just 28 Premier League matches in his two-and-a-half-year stay at Stamford Bridge amid struggles to recapture his peak form and fitness displayed while at Everton.

Barkley has 33 caps for England, last appearing at international level in a match against Bulgaria in October 2019.

He joins a Villa team who have won all four of their matches so far this season, two each in the Premier League and EFL Cup.

"Capturing a player of Ross's quality is a real coup for our club and I am certain he will thrive here and improve our team," said Smith as the move was confirmed on Wednesday.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard praised Edouard Mendy following his debut for the Blues in their EFL Cup loss to London rivals Tottenham as Kepa Arrizabalaga watched from the bench.

Mendy made his first Chelsea appearance after leaving Rennes in a reported £20million deal last week and impressed, despite Tuesday's 5-4 penalty shoot-out defeat in the round of 16.

Starting ahead of embattled team-mate and the world's most expensive goalkeeper Kepa, who was dropped for the 3-3 Premier League draw at West Brom as Lampard turned to Willy Caballero, Mendy produced a good save to thwart Sergio Reguilon in the second half.

Discussing Mendy's performance at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Lampard told reporters: "I thought he was very good. I think he made a couple of good saves, one particularly good save.

"He came and caught a few balls, even the one he comes for and doesn't catch, the idea that he wants to and be positive isn't a bad thing. Very, very pleased with every part of his game really."

Erik Lamela's equaliser cancelled out Timo Werner's first-half opener for Chelsea in normal time as penalties were needed.

Werner – a high-profile signing from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig – struck his first Blues goal 19 minutes into the contest before Tottenham's Lamela drilled past Mendy with seven minutes remaining.

The first nine penalties of the ensuing shoot-out were converted before Mason Mount clipped the outside of the left post with the 10th, allowing Spurs to progress.

"Listen, I don't think 'a shattering blow' is what it should be, I know it was a disappointing night to get knocked out of the Carabao Cup," Lampard said. "Mason will have many more nights for this club and for his country where he'll play in games of huge importance and he'll be the deciding factor in a positive way.

"So no, Mason's got my support at all times, and the team's, and everybody around it. You miss a penalty, it's a collective when you get this far in a game like this."

Lampard added: "We were dominant and you want to score more goals at that point because of the amount of possession and chances. Callum [Hudson-Odoi] had a good chance for us in the first half.

"I think probably Tottenham would have felt that, they would have felt that hard and they changed their game and went longer in their build, which meant our press, which had been fantastic in the first half, wasn't so relevant up the pitch. They turned us round and made us run backwards rather than being able to press forwards. And then it becomes really difficult, to be fair to the lads.

"We could have been better in the second half and maybe dealt a bit better with that physical nature of Tottenham's game but it slightly changed the case of the game but I think even so, they had some chances second half and so did we and at 1-0, one more goal finishes it for us and we didn't get that."

Frank Lampard and Jose Mourinho made light of their touchline spat as Tottenham prevailed against Chelsea in the EFL Cup.

Tottenham won 5-4 on penalties in the EFL Cup last 16 after Erik Lamela's equaliser cancelled out Timo Werner's first-half opener in normal time on Tuesday.

During the London derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Chelsea boss Lampard and Spurs counterpart Mourinho were involved in a heated exchange in the first half.

Mourinho and Lampard enjoyed incredible success together as manager and player at Chelsea, where the pair won two Premier League titles together among other honours.

But there was no love lost between Lampard and Mourinho in the EFL Cup tie, though both were quick to praise each other after the match when asked about the incident.

"We were having some fun on the line," Lampard told reporters following Mason Mount's missed penalty. "I get on well with Jose and I think he said that to me.

"I commented on the fact that he seemed to speak more with the referee than he speaks with his players so it is just a moment with us.

"I have a huge respect for Jose, no matter what he says on the touchline. I think he was feeling the sense of the first half and how it was. All was well at the end of the game and that will never change."

Mourinho added: "With Frank the most important thing is my feelings towards him rather than any words we exchanged. I owe him everything he gave me, he always gave me everything he had as a player and I never forget that.

"My feelings towards him will always be feelings of how much I owe him for how much of an incredible player, friend he was.

"The only thing I was telling him, just an opinion of an old coach to a young talented coach, which was when the players need us it is when they are losing, when they are winning we don't need to be the protagonists of the touchline, we need to be there when they are losing.

"In the last match when they were losing 3-0 [against West Brom] I felt really sorry for him because he was sad and quiet in his chair. In terms of football I can't teach him anything, he knows football, it is just an opinion, stay on the touchline when your team is losing and stay calm when your team is winning."

Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is set to leave on loan before the transfer window closes as Frank Lampard attempts to whittle down his bloated squad.

Loftus-Cheek started Chelsea's opening match at Brighton and Hove Albion but was hooked after an hour and left out of the squad for the games with Liverpool and West Brom.

The 24-year-old has struggled with injuries recently and finds himself down the list of Lampard's preferred midfield starters when everyone is fit.

Aston Villa, Southampton and West Ham have all been tipped to move for the 10-cap England international and Lampard may allow Loftus-Cheek to play elsewhere for the rest of the season.

"I'm very open with Ruben and we've had a couple of conversations over the past week," Lampard said. "He's fit as a fiddle and can play week in, week out. 

"He would have been playing games earlier if it wasn't for the lockdown and restart. But there's a possibility Ruben may go out to play games.

"We hold him in high regard here but that could be a good option for him. If not he'll be competitive in this squad as well because of the quality he has. 

"Hopefully that will be a big plus for us. I'm relaxed about it but I want to find the best path for Ruben and the best path for us. We'll see over the next week."

Loftus-Cheek impressed on loan with Crystal Palace in 2017-18 and was used regularly by Chelsea the following season, featuring 40 times in all competitions.

However, he has since suffered from a succession of injury issues and has struggled to make the most of his opportunities when they have arrived under Lampard.

"He wants to play and the reality is we have a lot of competition in those areas," the Blues boss added.

"Ruben is versatile and can play different roles in midfield so I was looking forward to working with him. He gives us something different in terms of his physicality, how he plays and how he receives the ball.

"I also think there's a priority that he plays games – there's a delicate balance that we need to get right over the next week. 

"He's had a difficult time of it – his injury was a really bad one and he hasn't played as many minutes as he would have liked for different reasons. 

"Just before his injury he was playing well and contributing. We'll make the decision what's best for him and best for us."

Chelsea have made seven signings this year and Lampard acknowledged the importance of offloading some more players before next Monday's transfer deadline.

"If it's right for the player and for us then it can be possible," he said. "The squad is very big but the situation has to be right for us. 

"It's also an uncertain time in terms of what's going on at the moment. We're worried about players having to isolate so we have to be comfortable with the squad we have. But there is the possibility a few will move on."

Frank Lampard feels the intense spotlight on Kepa Arrizabalaga has been slightly unfair as he revealed the goalkeeper may yet play again for Chelsea, despite the arrival of Edouard Mendy.

Kepa was first choice to start the new season but lost his place after the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool, during which he made a crucial error to allow the reigning Premier League champions to double their lead at Stamford Bridge.

Willy Caballero was selected on Saturday against West Brom, where Chelsea fought back from 3-0 down at half-time to salvage a point, while Mendy has joined from Rennes to add further competition.

The new signing may push Kepa further down the pecking order, though Lampard has praised the Spain international's professionalism in training since being dropped.

"I certainly wouldn't go to the point as far as saying he [Kepa] has played his last game for Chelsea," Lampard told the media ahead of Tuesday's EFL Cup clash with Tottenham.

"It's been a difficult time for Kepa, that's well documented. I know it and he knows it, but we certainly shouldn't jump to that conclusion. 

"Also, and I've felt quite strongly about this in the last week, there is also the understanding that Kepa is a young man, and a lot of the spotlight on him has become slightly unfair. 

"I have to protect him because I know he's a good lad. He's playing with absolute professionalism and attempting to do the best he can, as all the squad have to."


The Chelsea boss revealed Mendy has quickly settled into life at the club and is in the squad to face Spurs, along with another new recruit in left-back Ben Chilwell, who made his bow off the bench in the last round against Barnsley.

However, Hakim Ziyech is not quite ready for a debut in the midweek London derby. Christian Pulisic is also unavailable, though the winger is nearing a return to action for the Blues.

"It's all very positive, the early signs and interactions, as a man and also on the training pitch," Lampard said of Mendy, who cost a reported £20million fee.

"He settled in very well in those few days and we've made him very welcome, as always.

"It's competition. He's a good goalkeeper and we know a lot about him. We will see how we go."

Jose Mourinho may have a mouthwatering EFL Cup clash with former club Chelsea up next, but the Tottenham boss admits his priority has to be the Europa League amid a condensed fixture list. 

After Sunday's controversial 1-1 draw with Newcastle United in the Premier League, Spurs are back in action just over 48 hours later as they host London rivals Chelsea. 

However, while Tuesday's tie pits two of the top-flight's biggest clubs against each other, Mourinho is more interested in what comes after the meeting with his old employers, as his squad have little time to recover before facing Maccabi Haifa on Thursday. 

Victory over their opponents from Israel will clinch a place in the group stage of the Europa League, a welcome financial boost for Spurs during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

"I would like to fight for the EFL Cup, but I don't think I can," Mourinho told the media.  

"We have a game on Thursday that gives us not as much money as the Champions League, but the group phase of the Europa League gives us a certain amount that, for a club like us, is very important.  

"It's a competition with a possible group phase, that gives us a good chance to go through to the next knockout stage, so this game on Thursday is very important to us."

After European duties in midweek, Tottenham then travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in league action on Sunday.

They are likely to do so without Son Heung-min, however, as the South Korean forward suffered a hamstring injury against Newcastle and is set for an extended spell out of action.

Considering the fixture congestion, Mourinho expects to have to deal with a spate of injuries in the coming weeks - something his Chelsea counterpart, Frank Lampard, does not have to worry about, considering the "fantastic" squad he has at his disposal.

"Chelsea played Saturday, they have Sunday and Monday, they play Tuesday and then again on the weekend," the Portuguese boss said.

"Their fantastic squad, if the manager decides not to rotate, he can perfectly play with the players that he wants. 

"As you know, and forgetting the past Thursday, we’ve played on the Sunday, we then play on Tuesday, Thursday and then on Sunday again. Son was just the first – more will come."

Frank Lampard was in no mood to play the blame game after an error from Thiago Silva on his Premier League debut and says the Brazil centre-back will become crucial for Chelsea.

Silva was at fault for the second of West Brom's three first-half goals at The Hawthorns, as the Blues had to fight back from an error-strewn opening 45 minutes to draw 3-3 thanks to Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham.

It was the veteran defender's first action in the Premier League at the age of 36 and it was an unfortunate slip in an otherwise steady top-flight bow.

Chelsea boss Lampard said Silva is experienced enough to own up to his mistakes without the need for him to pile in too.

"Listen Thiago Silva is going to be fantastic for us, he's been incredible in his career," Lampard told a post-match news conference. 

"I will not look at him, I can talk about the mistakes - they're clear and we have to be open and honest about that, but I'll not put any blame on him. We're a team that has to react around that and to be fair the team did in the second half. 

"It's nothing on Thiago, I'm sure he'll stand up and say it was a mistake, other than that I thought he was faultless in the game.

"That's his first Premier League game done and in the bank, we'll get more from him as he gets fitter and the team gets fitter." 

Chelsea's equaliser had a hint of fortune, with Kai Havertz potentially handballing in the area in the build-up.

West Brom boss Slaven Bilic, who also felt there a was a foul prior to Hudson-Odoi bringing it back to 3-2, had no doubts the gal should have been chalked off.

"The third goal is very difficult to accept," Bilic said. "For me that is so clear that I don't even want to talk about it, it is obvious. 

"It's not maybe, it's not possibly handball, it is handball that's end of story, full stop. How someone can say that's not a handball is beyond me."

Frank Lampard warned his Chelsea side they must quickly cut out basic mistakes but insists the Blues remain a work in progress after fighting back for a 3-3 draw at West Brom.

Chelsea were staring down the barrel of an unexpected defeat at The Hawthorns after an inept display of defending saw them 3-0 down inside 27 minutes.

Errors from Marcos Alonso and Premier League debutant Thiago Silva saw Callum Robinson score twice before Kyle Bartley benefitted from more poor defending at a corner.

But Mason Mount and substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi brought Chelsea back into the game before a third academy graduate in the form of Tammy Abraham rescued a point in injury time.

"It's two points dropped and that's no disrespect to West Brom," Chelsea boss Lampard told Sky Sports. 

"But to come here and sort of understand the game and know that transition and mistakes is something they'd try to jump on, counter-attack against us and [use] set-pieces – we spoke about it before the game and you can't legislate for pure mistakes, which they were today. 

"Then it gives you a really difficult game to get back in to. I can laud character because we showed character and persistence but we didn't need to if we did things properly in the game.

"They were clear mistakes, the first one Marcos heads it into the middle of the pitch for them to make the transition. The Thiago one is a mistake, he's been around long enough to know that and we'll certainly give him that one in his first game. Then Marcos loses his man for the third goal from the corner. 

"You can do as many meetings as you want, if you make those mistakes you're going to give yourself a mountain to climb."

Lampard felt the introductions of Cesar Azpilicueta and Hudson-Odoi at half-time brought a different dimension to Chelsea.

"It brought a bit of urgency, a bit of speed of pass to move it," he added. 

"Azpi brings personality straight into the team even at left-back. Callum one-v-one brought something different, he got at people. Those are things Callum can and needs to do, he made a big difference."

Lampard said the fact Chelsea created going forward meant it was an easy message to try and lift his team at the break and is convinced a new-look squad will come good.

"We created two or three really great chances in first half and i thought we'd create more," he said. 

"The only problem when you're 3-0 down is West Brom are going to seriously protect the lead which means dropping back, frustrating moments and it was about staying patient. We did that to a big degree. 

"But it's a lesson for us in the detail of a game, it doesn't how much you create, and we will create a lot, we will get better.

"We're definitely finding our way with new players in the team and a lack of pre-season. 

"Part of the process of getting better is accepting things that aren't right in our game today because we lost two points."

Tammy Abraham revealed the words of wisdom from Frank Lampard that provided the catalyst for Chelsea's comeback in an entertaining 3-3 draw at West Brom.

The Blues were sloppy in defence as the Baggies went 3-0 up inside 27 minutes at The Hawthorns, where Thiago Silva endured a rude awakening on his Premier League debut.

But the visitors were able to breathe a sigh of relief after a second-half revival in which Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi scored before Abraham netted a stoppage-time leveller.

And the England forward praised the impact his manager made at half-time in picking his side up off the floor.

"We all went in and our heads were down and he had to lift us up," Abraham told Sky Sports.

"He said we didn't look like a team ready to go out and win and we needed to pick each other up in the second half.

"Thankfully Mason got the goal which meant we could believe. I knew we'd get chances but to come back from 3-0 is never easy. The boys deserve credit, they kept going."

The opening 45 minutes was a strange spectacle indeed, with Slaven Bilic's men finding themselves three goals to the good despite having very little of the game.

And Abraham conceded Chelsea had made life hard for themselves, while lamenting a missed opportunity of his own.

"In the first half we made it difficult for ourselves. I had a chance I should have put away and one I should be taking at this level," he said.

"They scored from every shot. We knew we had to come out in the second half and not drop our heads – and that's what we did.

"We need to cut out the mistakes as a team so we don't concede. We need to be strong together and keep encouraging one another."

Tammy Abraham's last-gasp goal completed Chelsea's rescue mission following a shambolic first half in a breathless 3-3 draw at West Brom.

The Baggies were gifted three goals inside 27 minutes at The Hawthorns with Callum Robinson scoring twice after shoddy defending from Marcos Alonso and 36-year-old Premier League debutant Thiago Silva.

Kyle Bartley made it 3-0 after more poor work at a corner but Mason Mount's well-struck 55th-minute effort was backed up by substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi putting the finishing touch on a great Chelsea move.

West Brom then buckled under the sheer weight of pressure in five additional minutes as Abraham tapped in from close range after Sam Johnstone saved Kai Havertz's shot.

Frank Lampard believes the arrival of Edouard Mendy at Chelsea can help push Kepa Arrizabalaga, though the Blues manager did not rule out the possibility of the Spain international leaving.

Kepa was entrusted to start the Premier League season, but Chelsea have been in pursuit of another goalkeeper throughout the window.

Mendy arrived this week in a £22million transfer from Ligue 1 club Rennes, with Kepa having made a calamitous error in Chelsea's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool last weekend.

While Mendy will not start against West Brom on Saturday, Lampard did not confirm whether Kepa would play, and also did not close the door on the world's most expensive goalkeeper potentially leaving on loan.

'There's no clarity on that one yet, about what will happen, and I'm not going to speak about the maybes of what might happen in the future," Lampard told a news conference when asked if Kepa could be loaned out. 

"I think the most important thing right now is the game this weekend, in which Mendy won't be involved in. I'll have conversations with all the goalkeepers and be very open about it and we'll see the way to move forward.

"I'm not going to talk about who starts because I need to speak to the goalkeepers themselves and I'd much rather it be a conversation I had with them rather than they read it from yourselves.

"I think with the dynamic of the goalkeepers, we know we've had problems in the goalkeeping area in the first two games of the season and at times last year. We know that and I think we can be very honest and open about that, and Kepa is in that search for the best performance levels.

"Mendy comes in of course to be big competition in that area. Now it's about how we move forward, about trying to get that performance level as best as can be."

Mendy has followed in the footsteps of Chelsea great Petr Cech, who joined the club from Rennes in 2004 and now serves as the Blues' technical and performance advisor.

Recently, Cech has also been out on the training pitch with the goalkeeping unit.

"I think a combination of both," Lampard said when asked if Cech was coaching or simply keeping himself fit. 

"With Petr, he has so much to give on that side of things. Obviously his day job here is to be technical advisor and he's a great help to me on that front.

"I think having Petr train with the goalkeepers and bring his experience is a great thing because he still has great quality. I think he retired pretty young to be fair. So he's training and keeping fit, which I think is healthy for him and the goalkeepers in the squad and that's as far as it goes. I've got absolutely no problem with it.

"It's something that I think is positive for the goalkeepers as a whole and Petr enjoys doing it, so why not give back and give that experience to the goalkeepers."

Christian Pulisic is nearing a return to action for Chelsea but Frank Lampard is wary of "overcooking" the winger and leaving him prone to injury. 

United States international Pulisic struggled with muscle issues in his first campaign at Stamford Bridge and missed two months at the start of the year with an abductor tear. 

The 22-year-old was impressive upon his return after lockdown, contributing five goals and two assists in all competitions. 

Pulisic is yet to feature this term after going off in the FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal with a hamstring injury in August, but Lampard said on Friday that a return is on the horizon. 

"No, Christian isn't ready for the squad, nor is Hakim Ziyech, but they're both training with us now, which is good news," he told the media ahead of Saturday's Premier League meeting with West Brom. 

"We hope to have them with us in proper match contention over the next week or two."

Lampard is keen to bide his time with Pulisic in particular, aiming to avoid any further injury setbacks when he eventually returns to action. 

"There's always a concern about a player's fitness when the history says there's been some injuries. Last season we did have them with Christian, I was questioned many times on him, when he did and didn't play," said Lampard. 

"Of course, when you look at a player with his recent record, you're trying to find the right balance of getting the best out of him, which we saw in big periods last year, and making sure you don't overcook him and leave him susceptible to injury, particularly with a player of his explosive pace and balance. It's a fine line. 

"We're working on that and Christian's also very open to that. He wants to play, he's so hungry to play and he's very nearly fit now, but it's certainly something we have to manage with him this season. 

"We've all seen the talent and it's something we want to get right. I'm not saying it's a fundamental, chronic issue because it's not, but we want to get as many minutes of Christian – the really great Christian that we saw lots of last season – on the pitch."

New signings Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell made their first Chelsea appearances in the 6-0 EFL Cup victory over Barnsley on Wednesday. 

While Lampard confirmed the pair could start at the Hawthorns, he is again wary of asking for too much too soon from players who are still working towards peak fitness. 

"I believe they are fit enough to start, but I do also have to take into consideration the fact that we play another game with a pretty tight turnaround on Tuesday, then another on Sunday, and then the international players will maybe go and play three games for their country, so I'm managing that one," he said. 

"Having come through that game the other day as they did, I think particularly Thiago did start that game and had 60 minutes in the bank, so that was good to see. 

"With Ben, I'll maybe be a little more cautious just to make sure, his injury's been a bit of a challenging one, so I'll make those calls. But they're in a good place at the moment."

Edouard Mendy is not in contention to start for Chelsea against West Brom on Saturday, Frank Lampard has confirmed.

Chelsea this week paid a reported £22million to sign goalkeeper Mendy from Ligue 1 side Rennes.

The 28-year-old is expected to take over from Kepa Arrizabalaga, who the Blues made the most expensive keeper in the world when they signed him from Athletic Bilbao for £71.6m in August 2018.

Kepa has made two errors leading to goals in as many Premier League appearances this season, though, but will not be displaced just yet.

"To start tomorrow is not going to happen," Lampard said when asked if Mendy was in contention to start at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

"He's had a long week where he hasn't really trained, flew in yesterday and it just feels like too tight of a turnaround to put him in contention to start the game."

Asked if he had spoken to Kepa since Mendy's arrival was confirmed, Lampard replied: "I haven't spoken to Kepa since then no. The announcement came and we trained and I didn't see Kepa, but I will have a conversation with him and Willy Caballero over the next 24 hours or so.

"I have a very open line of communication with both of them. It's important as goalkeepers, they have their own small union in the training ground because of the nature of the way they work together.

"It needs to be a very positive feeling between the goalkeepers and I'm sure there will be. There's good competition there now, we know that and it's how we move forward."

Chelsea also secured deals for Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr and Ben Chilwell prior to the 2020-21 season.

Antonio Rudiger and Jorginho have consequently been linked with exits from Stamford Bridge, but Lampard was giving nothing away on their futures.

"I don't expect anything in the window, because they're our players and that's a fact. There are lots of rumours about them and others," said the Chelsea boss.

"Every player will always be a case-by-case solution, that would be a happy solution for the player, the club and myself. Yes, we have a big squad, we know that, but at the moment players remain ours and we'll see as it goes on."

Lampard was similarly guarded when questioned on whether Declan Rice could be bought from West Ham before the transfer deadline on October 5.

"Again, they're rumours. I can't talk about these things but I know it's your job to ask," he said.

"When players are ours it's not my position to speculate on what may be because that's not my job, and the same on the other side with players that are playing for other clubs.

"We have a game against West Brom. My biggest thing is about getting the squad ready for that game."

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard promised Kai Havertz's three-goal haul against Barnsley will be the first of many impressive displays from the club's new signing.

Havertz put in some underwhelming performances in his first two Premier League appearances, but came to the fore with a hat-trick in Wednesday's 6-0 EFL Cup demolition of Championship side Barnsley at Stamford Bridge.

The Germany international star also played a part in another goal as Lampard's side made light work of Barnsley in London midweek.

Lampard has consistently urged patience with the 21-year-old, and suggested his treble showing is merely a sign of what is to come.

"I was delighted with Kai and everything of the night that I wanted from him," Lampard told a news conference.

"It was a great exercise for him, another game to see how we want to work off the ball, but also have freedom on the ball and combinations.

"It's the first of many great nights for him."

Tammy Abraham played ahead of Havertz and opened the scoring, with Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud also getting in on the act.

In defence, Lampard handed a debut to former Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva, while Ben Chilwell came on for Havertz midway through the second half.

"It's exciting for us," Lampard said of Silva's debut, which lasted just over an hour.

"He has just had a weeks training with us. But he gave something off for us with a leader of authority. At the minute, the fact he can't speak the language doesn't matter too much."

Antonio Rudiger and Ruben Loftus-Cheek were both left out of Chelsea's squad, and Lampard acknowledged the duo could move on before the transfer window closes if it suits Chelsea.

"They weren't in the squad and that was just a choice," Lampard said. "There may be movement, but don't read too much in to them not being in the squad. It will have to be right or the club."

Frank Lampard says he is proud of the way Chelsea responded to the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic and called on the Premier League and its teams to do their bit to help those further down the English league system.

It was confirmed by prime minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday that the planned returns of fans to stadiums in England, which was due to begin in phases from October 1, have been cancelled due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom.

The Premier League responded by noting its "disappointment" at the decision, arguing that "a code of conduct developed with scientific experts and agreed by the government's Sports Ground Safety Authority, fans in stadiums will be as safe or even safer than at any other public activity currently permitted".

It added that £700million was lost by top-flight teams last season with the national game haemorrhaging about £100m a month as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc, with predictions over the futures of teams further down the Football League making for grim reading.

During the early stages of the crisis, both Liverpool and Tottenham were criticised for originally stating they would take advantage of the government's furlough scheme before going back on the decision after a backlash, while Arsenal announced a host of redundancies despite making moves in the transfer market.

Chelsea boss Lampard feels his club have led by example with their own response and expects the Premier League to do its part to ensure English football can navigate its way through unprecedented times.

He said: "Firstly on a personal note and being manager of this team, this club, the pride I have in how it dealt with the COVID situation in the beginning, not furloughing staff, or mentioning we would furlough staff then retracting that statement, making the hotel at Chelsea into a hotel for NHS workers to stay in, making considerable donations to charity. I thought the club covered itself very well. 

"In terms of football itself and the sport, I think it's important the Premier League as a collective looks at supporting the EFL and the leagues below and grassroots football, absolutely, because that's the base of why we're all here. 

"I managed in the Championship and know the difficulties because I was very close to [Derby County owner] Mel Morris and I understand the difficulties clubs are having. 

"I can't go too political because I don't know enough about the numbers but I do think clubs in the Premier League and the Premier League themselves have a heart and understand that. I'm sure as we move forward they'll make positive moves on that front."

Chelsea are preparing to host Barnsley in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, a match that will take place just a day after Tottenham's trip to Leyton Orient was cancelled after several players from the League Two club tested positive for COVID-19.

Teams in the EFL this season do not have to conduct mandatory coronavirus tests and it was put to Lampard – who confirmed Chelsea had paid for Barnsley's contingent to be tested – that inter-league competitions may be untenable this season.

"The bigger political question is a difficult one because of the circumstances and, again, I don't know the numbers," he replied.

"But if you want to isolate it to football and you want to talk about how teams in the Premier League can help clubs lower down in the leagues, we have paid for the tests for Barnsley, we're awaiting the results on that, we hope it's a positive answer in terms of negative results. 

"I think it's a sign of clubs in the Premier League think it's the right thing to do. Competitions like the Carabao Cup are important because of where they are in the chain of football and I think it's right what we've done. It seems most Premier League clubs are doing."

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