Frank Lampard provided an injury update on his Chelsea squad prior to training in Istanbul on Tuesday evening, 24 hours before the UEFA Super Cup against Liverpool in the Turkish capital.
N’Golo Kante, Toni Rudiger and Willian have all travelled with the squad, the latter pair following a step up in their rehabilitation work at Cobham last week and the Frenchman after a brief cameo in Sunday’s defeat at Old Trafford. As he addressed the media at the Besiktas Park Stadium, Lampard revealed that a further knock sustained by Kante at the weekend had delayed his full return further.
‘The selection of Kante on the bench [against Manchester United] was because he’d missed a big part of pre-season and the whole of his off-season so he wasn’t ready,’ Lampard said.
‘He actually picked up another small injury in the game, which is always a danger when you’re trying to bring players back, so we’re assessing that for tomorrow and I have to make a decision with him this evening.’
Our head coach was then asked about the availability of Willian and Rudiger.
‘Willian and Rudiger are here with us but they’re in different stages of recovery. Willian is not far from being fit, his injury has healed but it’s tough to bring him back for such a high-intensity match. He’ll be working through this week to build his fitness and will be on the bench tomorrow.
‘It’s a similar situation with Rudiger but we felt it was important for us to bring them here because they were a big part of the success last season.’
Lampard was questioned how his side were likely to react from a difficult weekend defeat.
‘In terms of the defeat, I think you always learn as a manager along with your players. We played very well for 60 minutes but if you make defensive errors against good teams then it will cost you. We have to be adaptable and accept the strengths of our opponent so there may be subtle changes in our approach but one thing that won’t change is our intensity to win the ball back.
‘I’m optimistic because I believe in the players. We’re here in the final because we deserve to be due to the achievements of the players and the club last season. We understand the quality of an opponent like Liverpool because they deservingly won the Champions League this year.
‘They have a good manager and players so it will be a test but I know if we play at our best then we can win the match.’
The boss also reflected on a busy week following the transfer window closing and the start of competitive football.
‘It’s been a week where a lot has happened but I was ready for that and I certainly don’t fear that. There are decisions to be made every day and I’m prepared for that so we'll see what the rollercoaster brings going forward.
‘This final means a lot to the club, it’s another trophy and I know how much it means having lost two finals. It would be nice for me personally to start with a trophy but more importantly is it would show to the players that they are capable of competing against a team like Liverpool.’
Finally, Frank was asked for his thoughts on the referee for tomorrow's game.
Stephanie Frappart will become the first woman to referee the final of a UEFA men's competition and Lampard claimed it was another positive step for female participation in the sport.
'It's great news,' he added. 'I'm very pleased to be a part of this moment in history. The game has come on a long way in many ways, in terms of the Womens' World Cup which we all watched this summer and showed how much respect the women's game is getting.
'We're trying to make strides and there's a long way to go but tomorrow will be a huge moment because it's one more step in the right direction.'