Frank Lampard claimed the Premier League have “dropped the ball” by not allowing managers to make five substitutions this season.
Following the coronavirus suspension last term, league bosses made a temporary change which increased the number of changes from three.
The 20 top-flight clubs were split over whether the change would be a permanent one, particularly with the current campaign involving a more hectic fixture schedule.
After a vote between Premier League teams, it was decided that changes would revert back to three, despite the protestations of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
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Before the vote, he was asked whether he would continue with the five-sub rule: “Yes [I’m in favour],” he said. “I know the discussion will then go again of whether it is an advantage for the bigger clubs,” he said post-game.
“I don’t want to have an advantage in the competition or whatever. We have 38 Premier League games in a four-week-shorter season, that says it all.
“It is all about how we can get through this season and not who gets a little advantage here and there.
“It is really, how can we get through the season. I think for getting in a good way through the season, for the sake of the football players and the performance levels, I think it would make sense. But I don’t make the decision.”
And on the back of six Premier League games, with injuries piling up, the debate over the number of changes has reared its head again.
Chelsea boss Lampard believes that the increased demands on players means it would have made more sense to allow the increased flexibility a bigger matchday squad would enable.
“The ball was certainly dropped when the Premier League turned away from having five subs,” Lampard told Football.London. “These are unprecedented times in terms of situations for football. It will carry on, it’s not going anywhere in the short term.
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“The demands on players are huge for every club. I’m not just talking about my squad, I’m talking about every football player that is being asked to play day after day and the injury risk. It has changed the landscape.
“We’ll try to manage it as well as we can. We’re fortunate we have a big squad here. At the same time we want to do our best, the pressure is on and the players want to get the right results. We do. It could certainly have a big effect this year, more than any other year.”
The Champions League has retained the five-sub rule, with Klopp and Lampard both opting to use their full allocation of changes in European wins this week.
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