Champions League

Lampard: Ajax's youth system is incredible

2019-10-23 09:32
Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has spoken highly of Ajax's youth development as he prepares his team to take on the Dutch giants on Wednesday night.

The Blues, featuring academy graduates Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori, have racked up five consecutive wins in all competitions and climbed into the top four after Saturday's victory over Newcastle.

However, Ajax have long been famed for their youth policy and last season that exuberance swept them all the way to the semi-finals of the Champions League, where they were agonisingly pipped by Tottenham.

Chelsea have been building up their academy in recent years and this season, in part because of their transfer ban, it has borne fruit.

But Lampard, speaking ahead of their Champions League Group H clash in the stadium named after Ajax and Holland's favourite football son Johan Cruyff, said: "There's a long way to go to claim there are similarities.

"We have pride in the short term, but we shouldn't get carried away. It's great, the good feeling at the club in terms of the young players that have come through.

"But we are in a place here steeped in history of bringing young players through, creating great teams with groups of young players, and we have a long way to go to do that.

"What Ajax did last year was incredible, to get as far as they did with such a young team.

"I think you see my belief in our young players because even though everyone says we had a transfer ban and it's the only option I had, that's not true. I have lots of options in the squad.

"The young players have shown they should play and I believe in them. But it just the beginning of the road."

- TeamTalk Media

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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