Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley was “naive to be out before a Champions League game” after being pictured in a row with a taxi driver in Liverpool on Sunday night, said boss Frank Lampard.
Barkley reportedly spilled chips on the floor of the taxi and had an argument over money, with police involved.
Chelsea visit Lille on Wednesday.
“In terms of permission I don’t expect to be asked for that. He hasn’t committed a crime, apart from eating chips in a taxi,” said Lampard.
Chelsea, who beat Brighton 2-0 at home on Saturday, and Lille both lost their opening Champions League games.
“I feel for the cabbie and I think he has been naive to be out before a Champions League game – he has admitted that,” added Lampard.
“I like Ross, I have had no problem with him and he has admitted he made a mistake. I will take that at face value and move on.”
Lampard is not concerned by his side’s start in the Champions League, after they lost their opener 1-0 to Valencia with Barkley missing a penalty.
“I didn’t think Valencia was the worst game for us,” said Lampard.
“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.”
- Lille will be the fifth different French opponent Chelsea have faced, with each of those 16 matches coming in the Champions League (W5 D5 L6).
- Their six Champions League matches against English opposition all came against Manchester United, with the French side winning just once (D2 L3).
- Lille are winless in eight Champions League home matches (D3 L5), since beating AEK Athens in October 2006 (3-1).
- Chelsea have won seven of their last 12 away group games in the Champions League (W7 D2 L3), keeping a clean sheet on seven occasions.
- Chelsea have lost their last two Champions League matches – they have never lost three in a row in the competition.
- Lille had the youngest starting XI in the first round of Champions League group games – with an average age of 23 years and 277 days against Ajax.
- The two teams with the most shots on the first round of this season’s Champions League without scoring were Chelsea (22) and Lille (17).
- Frank Lampard could become the second Englishman to lose his first two matches in the Champions League, after Ray Harford in September 1995 with Blackburn Rovers.