Jody Morris has confirmed that Marcos Alonso will miss out on involvement in the FA Cup this weekend as the assistant head coach deputised for Frank Lampard at Friday’s pre-match press conference.
Morris was drafted in as the boss continues to suffer from a minor illness, although he confirmed Lampard did take training this morning and would be in the Stamford Bridge dugout on Sunday afternoon when Nottingham Forest visit SW6 in the FA Cup third round.
‘He’s got a bit of a bug, which he’s had for a week to 10 days now,’ said Morris. ‘The older you get, the harder it is to shake off but he’ll be alright for Sunday.’
On the player front, there was better news even if Alonso is likely to be absent.
‘Injury-wise, Alonso is looking like he’ll definitely be out and Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] is the obvious one,’ he continued. ‘Apart from that, we’re still looking at a few players in the fallout from the Brighton game.
‘Fikayo [Tomori] trained today but he’s still not feeling the best himself – there’s been a bit of that about because of the time of year.
‘Olivier [Giroud] is alright so we’ll look and see how the lads are feeling. We’ll try to utilise the squad so I’m sure there’ll be a few changes from the Brighton game but we’re not sure how many yet. We will look at how the lads are feeling because after those games, you have to utilise the squad.'
Morris won the FA Cup as a Chelsea player in 2000 and had warm words about the old competition.
‘It’s a prestigious competition. Whatever competition you enter, you should look to go as far as you can in it and the manager will want to pick a team that can go out there and win the game.
‘Over the course of time, the emphasis on some of the other competitions is maybe naturally going to dilute the prestige of the FA Cup if you don’t know about it but in our dressing room, we have enough people who value it. It’s a competition known around the world.’
The topic of our recent home form was also raised.
‘We’ve certainly discussed it. It was mentioned a bit after the Arsenal game because we realise we do have to address our home form. I don’t think it’s just a physical or technical thing but also the mental side when we’re not performing at our best or going through a run of games where the performances are not what they should be.
‘We need to start looking at it and it will certainly be addressed going into Sunday, whether that’s with video or by talking.
‘There’s pressure for most teams if you’re at a big club playing at home. You’re expected to be performing better than we are but there’s an element that we can all do better.
'Players need to give the fans something to shout about but sometimes the players need a bit of help from the fans as well. There are moments in games when everyone is frustrated so it’s more about whether we can pull in the same direction and support each other to come through it.’
With the winter transfer window now open, Morris was asked to provide an update.
‘There are a couple of areas we’re looking at, without going into them, but it will all depend on what the movements are within the club as well. I’m not as privy to those conversations as the manager is but for sure there is stuff going on behind the scenes. Any movements have to be for the benefit of the club and improve the squad.
‘We can’t just let people walk out the door if that means we’re going to be left short somewhere. We have to look at the individual as well but everyone is valuable for us. You never know what can happen in terms of injuries or form so until they walk out the door, everyone is important.’
Finally, our former youth team boss was asked about his personal pride at the emergence of so many young players this season.
‘There’s a whole host of us who have taken a bit of personal pride in it. You have your own individual relationships with players but having known them for six or seven years, to see how well they’re doing is great.
‘After the Norwich game, there was a lovely initial feeling but now we’re beyond that and these players deserve to be part of the squad because they’re performing at levels that justify it. There has been pride from people amongst the Academy, who we still work closely with. It’s been a fantastic decade for them.
‘It should be working that way at most clubs but I get it doesn’t and some managers have different visions about how things work. Luckily, we have a great Academy and a manager who wants to give the young players an opportunity to perform.’