Frank Lampard has ruled Tammy Abraham out of tomorrow’s game against West Ham, but the boss has complete confidence in whoever he chooses to replace the striker up front.
Abraham has started every Premier League and Champions League game for us since 18 August, netting an impressive 11 goals so far this season, but a hip injury sustained shortly before half-time in our midweek draw with Valencia means he won’t be available for selection tomorrow.
At his press conference at Cobham this afternoon, Lampard was asked if it was any clearer how long the 22-year-old will be out for.
‘No,’ he responded.
‘We’ll know by the end of the weekend. He’s got some pain. He won’t be involved tomorrow, and we will see by Monday.
‘It’s a squad game over the course of a season. The lads have been training well. Every day is a work day, so when opportunities come they’re ready. I have full confidence in them.’
Lampard was asked specifically what it is about Michy Batshuayi’s game that has impressed him
‘A work ethic, a quality. It’s not easy when you’re not playing so many minutes as you want. With Tammy’s form, it’s meant he’s played a lot, but that can obviously change now Tammy has his injury. I’ve seen a great work ethic, and a persistence in how he works and a consistency, and his quality.’
The boss had good news regarding Toni Rudiger's condition
‘He’s getting closer, he had a really good week’s work. The reality is he’s not played for a very long time so it’s a mini pre-season. Now the injury hopefully is over, we need to get him properly fit. He’s working very hard. It’s days and weeks rather than months which is great news for us.’
Lampard was asked if he was concerned about his side defensively
‘No, I’m actually not. I didn’t like the last 20 minutes against Valencia, but that can happen. If you’re trying to play in a certain way like we are, there will be games when you’ll be tested. I have seen a lot of big teams in the Champions League concede goals this season, not just ourselves.
‘We’re conceding more goals than we want, but in terms of what we’re conceding, crosses into our box and teams getting in to our box, it’s not that bad. Our conversion rate isn’t good.
‘I’m pretty happy with how the team is playing. There have been a lot of games this season where afterwards I could say I was really happy with how we performed.
‘The balance of defence and attack is fluid; it can be different every game. Manchester City we were very good; Valencia we were tested in a different period of the game which makes you learn some small lessons. That’s normal.
‘There is always a need for improvement. We always analyse with the players and speak with them, but what’s important is points on the board, and that continued want for improvement. At the moment we’re okay, but we want more.’
The form of Kepa has been a talking point recently
‘I’m happy. I know Kepa as a professional is a keeper who – and you can see it in his attitude and how he trains every day - is striving to be better, as he should do at his age and the status that he’s at.
‘He will want to get better all the time, and there have been a few instances this season where he would be the first one to say he can do better. That’s football at the top level, but I’m happy with him and his work ethic.’