Tammy Abraham says Frank Lampard upset a lot of Chelsea players when he arrived at the club because he made them do so much running in pre-season training.
The in-form striker has scored nine goals in 11 games for the Blues so far this season and admits that the intense work over the summer has paid off, but he certainly didn’t appreciate it at the time.
Lampard returned to the club at which he made 648 appearances as a player, determined to implement a certain style of play, involving a lot of pressing.
This required getting the squad’s fitness levels up, and plenty of players were not ready for it after their summer holidays: “I think a lot of players were a bit upset about how much running we had to do in pre-season, but it’s all paying off now,” Abraham told The Athletic.
“It all makes sense why we did it, why we had such a hard pre-season.
“From when the manager came in he told us the style of play, how he wanted us to play, how to press.
“At first, I couldn’t do it. I had no energy. But as the season has gone on, I’ve got used to it.
“Now we know what he wants in the press, so for us, it’s about giving defenders no time on the ball – just rushing them.”
Lampard puts a huge emphasis on the fitness of his forward players and spoke earlier in the season of Abraham’s ability to press for 90 minutes, challenging him to improve that area of his game.
The 22-year-old was substituted late in Chelsea’s 2-1 loss to Liverpool in September and his manager questioned the striker afterwards.
“He was struggling a little bit at the end and again I think it’s what happens with Tammy,” Lampard told Sky Sports after the loss to the Reds.
“I think he’s had a fantastic start to the season, but now the levels are: can you get through games?
“I’m asking a lot of him, and I thought again he gave his everything as he always does, and he’ll be alright Tammy.”
Abraham’s sensational start to the season has seen him called up to the England squad for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
The striker has already won two caps for England but only in friendlies and has been considering committing his international future to Nigeria, however, if he takes to the field in Prague or Sofia then he will be set on a career with the Three Lions.