Lampard on youngsters, latest on injuries, Newcastle tactics, Longstaff brothers and more

Frank Lampard spoke about a number of issues at a news conference ahead of this weekend’s match against Newcastle. Here’s some of what the Blues boss had to say.

On N’Golo Kante

“He’s not fit. He had a small groin issue in the warm-up to the first international game with France. We didn’t get him back until after the second game and he’s not fit for Saturday.”

On how France handled the Kante situation

“We communicated before the last international break because he was injured, so he couldn’t go. We both agreed on that. That’s how I think it should work.

“After the first game (against Iceland) when he pulled out, he then had a fitness test the day before the second game (against Turkey) and it was clear he couldn’t play.

“He then sat on the bench on the evening of the game. So that’s not communication.

“Our doctors were communicating with them and things weren’t coming to us that I expected to come back. That’s what I mean about communication.

“We got a player back a bit later. I understand when players are on international duty they’re their player as such. But it was clear he wasn’t fit to play.

“From our point of view we’d have wanted him back to work with him. It’s been and gone and as with every international player I will always try to have open lines of communication with a manager for both our sakes.”

On other injuries

“Andreas Christensen has got a hamstring injury which will see him out probably for the next two weeks. Kovacic is in contention. Ross Barkley is fine.

“Rudiger is training outside with the physios which is a progression for him.

“He’s had a tough injury with some stop-starts to it, which is a bit unfortunate for everybody, but he’s outside and it’s positive.

“There’s a bit work to be done for him – match fitness – but it’s really positive for us that he’s back outside.”

On Newcastle looking to follow-up their win over Manchester United

“Of course they’ll attempt to do that. I saw them at Tottenham earlier in the season put in a similar show of resilience and organisation and counter-attacking football.

“Whether they’ll do exactly that, who knows? Obviously that’s their prerogative. But they’ve got templates for getting results against teams in that way.

“So I only see them at their best in terms of how we prepare; what can they do to make it very difficult for us? What can they do to hurt us in the game?

“As we know in the Premier League every game has huge challenges, and I expect nothing else from Newcastle.”

On Newcastle’s Longstaff brothers

“It’s a great story. The two lads, the passion of their interview post-Manchester United was great to see.

“They’re good footballers who have got a real passion for their club. I know their fans will obviously appreciate that.

“They’ll be tough competitors because they’re good players who put their foot in and they care about their club.

“From afar, I think huge credit (due) for their breakthrough into the team there.”

On bringing through Chelsea’s youngsters

“Having been at Chelsea a long time and not seen enough young boys come through, now we are, so let’s see it continue with that.

“It pleases me obviously because they are competing and playing at a high level in the first team, and pleases me for the academy because they are getting recognition for their work.”

“I hear a lot that it [playing the youngsters] was the only way this year and it’s a perfect storm and the young players had to play. But that’s not true.

“To look at it that way would be a disservice to the competition I have in the squad, a disservice to Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi, to Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley and to the centre-backs we have got.

“These young boys are contesting and they need to prove when they train that they can play in the team and then it’s my choice.

“They have proved it on merit to give me the chance to choose them and then they need to prove it week, week out. It’s a good story and great for us that they are competing in the squad to get their place.”