Lampard on Blues duo’s futures, Kante & Rudiger latest, Pulisic starting – and the possibility of new signings
Frank Lampard spoke about a number of issues at a news conference ahead of this weekend’s match against Burnley. Here’s some of what the Blues boss had to say.
On the latest injury news
“Loftus-Cheek is well out. He’s well into his recovery. Rudiger won’t be ready for the weekend but he’s getting closer – he’s training outside with us.
“N’Golo won’t be ready. He’s training on his own with some physical work. We need to get him right now, because he’s been in and out through the season.
“Christensen is out and Ross Barkley is out as well – not majorly out, just out, so hopefully he’ll be fit for next week.”
On N’Golo Kante’s injury woes
“I just want him fit. He’s played a lot of football for four years, he’s had a big injury off the back of last season and I think he’s suffering from that big injury and a little fallout from that.
“I think maybe now it’s time to take a small step back just to get his fitness up and be confident that we won’t have a domino effect of small injuries.
“That’s where we’re at, so there’s no actual time frame on it.”
On Antonio Rudiger
“He had a bad injury and hadn’t played since April. He (then) played half a game against Wolves.
“This is, again, a fallout from last season’s injuries for us. We’ve lost Ruben, lost Rudi, lost Kante and some others and I think we need to remember that.
“But Rudi’s close now. He should be, hopefully, with us over the next week or two.”
“They’re very good. I’ve watched a lot of their games and they never give an easy game to the opponent. They’re scoring goals.
“They’re always a difficult game and have been for Chelsea over recent years at different times and I expect no different.”
On whether Christian Pulisic might start
“The way he’s played he deserves a starting place regularly in the last few weeks, but so do others. It’s the nice problem that I have.
“It’s brilliant that he’s coming in and making the impact that he’s making and of course he’ll get his starts – it’s the reason he’s here.
“But we’ve got Callum Hudson-Odoi who was top class last week against Newcastle at home in terms of creation.
“Willian, I declared him our best player in the great patch we had of four or five games.
“So they’re good options for me and Christian is getting stronger and getting more in the group.
“With some players who come here you have to give them a bit of time, particularly young players.
“He’s playing well so he’s certainly in strong contention.”
On whether he hopes Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori will sign new deals
“Of course I do. That goes slightly out of my remit and they are dealing with the club. But I know the club I love the players.
“I’m brought them into the team this season and they are doing particularly well. But I leave those conversations to the club to discuss contracts but, of course, I want them to be here for a long time.
“That’s the conversation for me and the club. I’ve made it clear that they are playing very well and I want them to stay.”
On reports the club’s transfer ban might be lifted in January
“I don’t know. That’s not completely in my hands and I wouldn’t want to speculate whether we can or can’t.
“At the minute we can’t, so I’m just concentrating on what’s ahead of us in terms of the squad we have now.
“A club like Chelsea will always be looking in terms of can we improve the squad if there’s a potential to bring players in. But at the moment I don’t know the answer.”
On whether Chelsea have exceeded his expectations
“I didn’t consider points or positions. I knew I wanted us to be competitive, of course.
“I just considered pre-season: ‘OK what can we do? What’s in front of me? What’s in front of us as staff?’ The ideas that we wanted to get across to the team.
“I’m pleased. I’m pleased with the last six games. There were bits before that I was less pleased or more pleased with – I thought we could have picked up more points in the early stages of the season, sometimes I think our performances warranted that – but we worked hard to get to a patch where we’ve got well deserved wins.
“I’m just pleased but I’m very focused on the fact that I want it to continue.”