‘I wanted to know how his players responded’: Harlequins head coach Paul Gustard reveals he has spoken to Chelsea boss Frank Lampard about the experience of playing football games behind-closed-doors as he prepares for Premiership Rugby restart
- Chelsea boss Lampard has been helping Harlequins prepare for empty stadiums
- Lampard has spoken to Quins coach Paul Gustard about playing behind doors
- Gustard revealed that talks are ongoing with want-away winger Gabriel Ibitoye
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has been helping Harlequins to prepare for matches in empty stadiums.
Lampard has spoken to his Quins counterpart, Paul Gustard, about what to expect when rugby returns behind closed doors next month.
Chelsea have won seven of their last nine fixtures and Gustard hopes the advice will give Quins an edge for the restart.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has been helping Harlequins prepare for empty stadiums
‘I wanted to know how his players responded,’ said Gustard. ‘I wanted to know how they found playing in empty stadiums. I wanted to know, because the unknown can lead to uncertainty.
‘These players will go into an environment which they probably have not experienced since they have been in school – where there is no crowd and no one there. That’s what I’ve been speaking to Frank Lampard about.
‘What you want then is the people who are most intrinsically driven to compete. The likes of Mike Brown and Chris Robshaw have never shirked the ability to compete – those are the personality types you want when there is no one driving you from outside – mum, dad, girlfriend, mates, crowd.
Head coach Paul Gustard said his players would not have experienced this ‘since school’
‘We train at Surrey Sports Park but we’ve lined up to go to The Stoop to basically train in an empty stadium: 15 v 15. Experience what it looks like and replicate match environments. If we can’t get a friendly opposition then we’ll go live against each other. Mirror the time and all the rest of it.’
Gustard also revealed that talks are ongoing with want-away winger Gabriel Ibitoye, who has put in a request to move to France.
‘We have 45 players at the club, give or take, including the academy lads… there’s always things that go on at a club,’ said Gustard. ‘Obviously there’s a contractual issue with him and the club and that’s something we’re working with.’
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