Frank Lampard reports he will wait until the day of the game to decide whether Tammy Abraham will return to the side for the visit of Aston Villa to Stamford Bridge.
The big young striker missed the weekend defeat to West Ham having been forced off away to Valencia three days earlier with bad bruising to his hip. He will no doubt be extra keen to challenge himself against a Villa team for whom he was top scorer when on loan last season. He netted 26 goals for the Midlands club and does have a chance of facing them tomorrow evening.
‘Tammy is okay,’ Lampard told the pre-match media conference. ‘We are going to give him every possible chance to be fit. There is still some pain in the area of the injury, we will make a judgement call tomorrow.
‘It is painful for him so it about the pain threshold and does it affect his movement, so I don’t want to commit today [on his availability].
‘He was in good form, and when a player is important, as they all should be, you try to give as much time as possible. You need them to be keen, he is always keen, so he is trying his best and we are trying our best to give him time. If he is not ready then we have to go a different route.’
Abraham’s absence has been highlighted by some as a major cause for the team losing for a second league game in a row, against the Hammers, but Lampard does not see it as that simple.
‘I don’t think you can isolate it to one game,’ he said, ‘but it is clear where Tammy is in the goalscoring charts and what his input has been generally for us this year. We should not underestimate that but one player cannot be the reason for losing a game or having a below-par performance. The overall picture is not that but what is clear is he is an important player of us.’
One aspect of the 1-0 defeat on Saturday that Lampard does consider worth discussing is the fact we did not concede a single foul; the first time we have done that in a league game since such data began to be recorded in 2003/04.
‘I think it is a bit of a freak stat,’ he said, ‘but one we should not be proud of. Not that we want to commit fouls but if you play with urgency and aggression which is what you need to do, hopefully well channelled, but at times you can cause fouls and that is how we should be. So I think it runs a little bit alongside the result and something I would not be happy with.’
Apart from possibly Abraham, there are no other players returning to availability for tomorrow’s game although the boss had updates on two.
‘Ross Barkley has been sick, he was ill Sunday night. He is in this morning but not recovered enough to be available tomorrow. He has been training well. That has never been a huge issue and now he has to keep that level and push that level and compete for a place. That is up to Ross now.
‘Toni Rudiger is close. He has stepped up his training, particularly in the last week, so we are hopeful he will be available in the next week to 10 days.’
There is more video from today's conference available now The 5th Stand app