Edouard Mendy will not go straight into the Chelsea starting line-up in the Midlands tomorrow Frank Lampard has told the media at his pre-match conference on Friday afternoon.
The boss also ruled out Hakim Ziyech making his Blues bow in the game at West Bromwich Albion and Christian Pulisic will not return from injury, but first Premier League starts for Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell are under consideration.
On goalkeeper Mendy, whose transfer to Chelsea was announced yesterday, Lampard had this to say:
‘He has had a long week when he has not really trained, he flew in yesterday and it feels too tight a turnaround to put him in contention to start the game.
‘Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic are not ready for the squad tomorrow,’ he added, ‘but they are both training with us now which is good news, and we hope to have them in proper match contention over the next week or two.’
Lampard was asked if special care is being taken with Pulisic’s recovery in light of the time the American spent out of the side last season.
‘There is always a concern about player fitness when their history shows there has been injuries,’ he confirmed, ‘and you try to find the right way and right balance to get the best out of Christian, which we saw in big periods last year.
‘You make sure you don’t over-cook him and leave him susceptible to injury, and particularly with a player of his explosive pace and balance that is a fine line.
‘We are working on that and Christian is very open to that. He wants to play, he is so hungry and he is very nearly fit now but it is certainly something we will have to manage this season. We have all seen the talent and it is something I want to get right. I am not saying it is a fundamental, chronic issue, it is not, but we want as many minutes of the great Christian we saw last season on the pitch.’
When talked turned to Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell who both made debuts on Wednesday night against Barnsley, Lampard reported they are both in good enough condition to start in the Premier League this weekend, but he explained there are other selection considerations.
‘We play another game with a pretty tight turnaround on Tuesday and then another game on Saturday, and then some international players will maybe go and play three games for their countries so I am managing that one.
‘But having come through the game the other day as they did, particularly Thiago who did start that game and has 60 minutes in the tank, that was good to see. With Ben I will maybe be a little more cautious just to make sure. His injury had been quite a challenging one and I will make those calls, but they are in a good place at the moment.’
Looking at the other end of the pitch, Lampard agreed the way Tammy Abraham and Kai Havertz played while scoring four of the goals in the 6-0 beating of Barnsley, has given him food for thought.
‘It gives me a nice problem to see the way they linked and to see the attributes of Tammy and Kai and see a form of an understanding, albeit in one game. Those are the challenges that lie ahead for us, trying to work on those combinations with the newer players we have coming in.
‘We also saw Olivier Giroud come on and make an impact in terms of his goal and also he could have made two or three really good assists, and I need those options. There is a really long season ahead and we need different ways of breaking down teams.’