Christian Pulisic is likely to start among the substitutes when Crystal Palace visit Stamford Bridge this weekend as the American continues his comeback from the hamstring injury sustained in the FA Cup final.
Frank Lampard provided the update at his pre-match press conference via video link from Cobham following our final training session before the meeting with Eagles on Saturday lunchtime. While Pulisic’s recovery has brought him closer to a return to match action, Lampard also revealed the game would come to soon for Hakim Ziyech.
‘Pulisic is in the squad for tomorrow,’ stated the boss. ‘He won’t start the match because of the injury he’s had and it’s been a difficult injury but I am very keen to get him back in there.
‘It’s great to have him back for himself and for the boost he gives the team because he’s an important player for us. Hakim Ziyech is getting closer but he’s not quite fit enough to be on the bench.
‘It’s been a huge miss for us not to have them fit at this stage of the season. Christian has been here for a year so he doesn’t have that bedding-in process that was part of his early time last year.
'Hakim is going to bring something completely different for us and I think they will help complement the attacking players we have because we’ll need to be able to use different players throughout the course of the season. I’m very excited to have them fit.’
With the transfer window closing on Monday, there were questions about the squad and England trio of Hudson-Odoi, Tomori and Loftus-Cheek…
‘I wouldn’t call it thinning it out the squad but we do have a big squad. I’m not interested in speculating in the last few days of the window so we’ll see how it develops and see what movements there may be.
‘With every player in the squad when it’s the situation of a loan you have to consider what’s best for the player and what’s best for the club. With all those three players, I will take those things into consideration but I don’t have an answer. I have a good relationship with them all and speak honestly with them and it’s one we’ll broach player by player over the next few days.
‘Once the window shuts, every player here will be used within our squad because it’s a long season and a lot of competition coming up.’
There was also an update on the fitness of Billy Gilmour…
‘He’s progressing well. It was forecast as a four-month injury when he went into surgery and we’re three months on from that so it will be four weeks from now that he’ll be hopefully fit barring any hiccups.
‘His attitude and how he approaches everything in his professional life is spot-on so he’ll give himself the best chance to be back and as fresh as he can in four weeks and he’ll be an important member of the squad at that point.’
The boss was asked about his plans for Timo Werner and Kai Havertz…
‘Timo and Kai don’t necessarily have favoured positions themselves but I have a clear idea of where I want them to play. At the moment, injuries have not made it that possible and sometimes you have to be adaptable in those difficult times.’
After missing the decisive penalty in the shootout on Tuesday, Mason Mount was also a topic of conversation…
‘Everybody rallied round Mason as they would any individual in the team. Mason’s biggest disappointment was the feeling that he may have let his team-mates or myself or staff down but that’s absoliutely the opposite from what Mason’s done since he got in the team.
‘He’s a young lad who’s been desperate to play for Chelsea in all his young life and he’s been fantastic for us over the last 18 months. Missing in a round of the Carabao Cup to get knocked out is par for the course for someone of Mason’s young talent who will go on to play in many important games like that and games more important than that. He’s supported by everybody at the club and we all move on.'