Frank Lampard has confirmed that N’Golo Kante came through the midweek Champions League contest against Lille unscathed and is in contention to play consecutive Chelsea games for the first time since August.
Addressing the media in his weekly Friday press conference at Cobham ahead of our Premier League trip to Southampton, Lampard reported that the Frenchman had no problems following a 90-minute runout against his compatriots on Wednesday night.
While the boss will be keeping a close eye on his recovery over the coming days due to a lack of match action so far this campaign, there is every chance he will be involved again at St Mary’s.
‘It’s something we’ll have to watch over the next 24, 48 hours to make sure he’s okay,' said Lampard. 'All the players are on a semi-recovery programme after the Lille game but it’s also the fact he hasn’t played much.
‘In terms of the injury, he’s fine and there was no fallout with that from the Lille game so it’s just about making sure he’s fit and ready, which is a call for me to make.’
Lampard was asked about Jorginho and confirmed the Italian is his vice-captain this season, noting the importance of his improving English language skills.
‘Jorginho is vice-captain and Azpi is captain, which has been clear since the start of the season because his professionalism and career here speaks for itself. Jorginho is a big character and a driver for us, which is very evident to see on the pitch.
‘It’s obviously important [to speak English]. We always try here to push that along as soon as players come in because communication is key on and off the pitch. He crosses the borders, if there are any, because it’s easy sometimes to come in and stay within your nationality groups.
On Southampton, Lampard sees a difficult opponent and a big challenge for his side this weekend.
‘We’re expecting a tough match, a very good manager with a well-organised team. They play in different formations so it’s hard to predict how they might come at you but they do come at you with a lot of pace in the way they want to work off the ball and they have quality players.
‘It’s always a very difficult place to go so you have to be at it because there’s a lot of energy in their team and the crowd can get behind them if they play with the kind of intensity that they have been showing. We need to match that at least because we want to keep our momentum going.’