Frank Lampard sprung to the defence of Ross Barkley after he was pictured on a night out in Liverpool, although the Chelsea boss admitted his played had been ‘naive’.
Photos of Barkley appearing to argue with a taxi driver on Sunday night were published in newspapers ahead of the Blues’ Champions League trip to Lille on Wednesday.
Blues boss Lampard said he had spoken to Barkley about the incident but added: “He hasn’t committed a crime.”
Lampard said: “In terms of permission, I don’t expect people to ask to be in Liverpool on their day off. That’s not a problem. Especially with his family there. As an issue, he hasn’t broken the club code about being out.
“He hasn’t committed a crime – apart from eating chips in the back of a cab! He has been naive to be out on an evening leading into a Champions League game.”
According to the Mirror, Barkley was marched to a cash machine by police after he refused to pay a fine for spilling chips in the back of a cab.
Lampard was keen to focus on more pressing issues in his press conference, however, as the Blues look to get their Champions League campaign back on track.
Chelsea were stunned by Valencia at Stamford Bridge in their opening group game and the Lille clash is already a must-win.
Here’s everything Lampard told the media on Tuesday.
Lampard on N’Golo Kante’s fitness
“He has trained and got through it okay. One that we have to assess.
“We are positive. It doesn’t relate to the Europa League. The fallout of that meant he has had a broken pre-season.
“He has had a few niggles, some bad luck. Everyone is working to getting him fit.”
Lampard on Lille
“We have to be honest, I didn’t think Valencia was the worst game for us, 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.”
Lampard on competition for places at centre-back
“[Fikayo] Tomori, I worked with him last year and I have a lot of trust in him.
“I see it as four very good centre-backs. He has given himself a really good place in the race. He must keep improving.”
Lampard on Kepa getting his first clean sheet of the season against Brighton
“In the lack of clean sheets, to get one the person I was most happy for was Kepa.
“He is very determined and wants to improve. Clean sheets are not just his responsibility, but he has worked to improve.
“In his role he can maybe become a bit more vocal and that is part of the process as well.”