Analysis

Lampard reveals Hudson-Odoi is ‘not far off’ a return as he discusses plans for managing the squad

The boss has revealed his plans for managing the Chelsea squad through a busy period of match action following the first of seven games in 26 days for the Blues at the weekend.

It was the perfect return from the international break on Saturday for Frank Lampard’s side, who scored five and picked up all three points at Molineux against a tricky Wolves team.

Tammy Abraham was given the nod up front once again and repaid his manager’s faith with his first Chelsea hat-trick, while Mason Mount was deployed as one of the two most advanced midfielders and rounded off the scoring in stoppage time to seal a 5-2 victory, following Fikayo Tomori’s stunning opener.

With two days of recovery and work in between our Midlands trip and the hosting of Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday night, Lampard reflected on the squad options he has available. The likes of Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi, Ross Barkley, Christian Pulisic and Pedro were on the bench at Wolves, though the need for freshness must be weighed up against the need to build momentum at a crucial stage of the season.

‘We’re searching for consistency of results so there’s an element where we want to have that continuity but we certainly have to manage the squad over the next three or four weeks until the next international break,’ Lampard explained.

‘Fortunately, we have options and I will utilise them. We also still have players coming back from major injuries - [N’Golo] Kante, Callum [Hudson-Odoi] and Reece James are starting to knock on the door so there will be opportunities to manage the squad.

‘At the same time, I want to keep the consistency after a good performance so it’s my job to balance that out. We’ve not got momentum yet but it’s certainly a good feeling to see the team play the way they did.’

Abraham departed the action in gingerly fashion at Wolves but Lampard had words of reassurance that the issue was not a serious one, before providing a fitness update on another of our exciting youngsters.

‘He had a bit of cramp,’ the boss revealed of Abraham. ‘It was probably excitement from his hat-trick and the energy he used up because he works so hard. There were a few who had played international minutes, some more than others, so I’ll analyse that with the staff over the next couple of days.

‘Callum is not far off but we have to be careful because it was a major injury. What we’ve done is actually get him back ahead of time but we have to make sure the strength is right in the area because it could lead to other injuries if we go too quickly.

‘We have the Carabao Cup coming up next midweek and that may give us opportunities to look at players who’ve been injured or some different options. In between that time, if Callum shows this week with how good he is in training, then I’ll have to consider him from now on.’

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