Hamstring injuries will rule Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi out of tomorrow’s Champions League group stage finale, but Frank Lampard has confirmed Kepa and Billy Gilmour will play against Krasnodar.
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Lampard spoke further about Ziyech’s injury issues since joining Chelsea
‘He came to us at the back-end of last season and trained a lot. The injury [in pre-season] was disappointing and he missed some weeks, but straightaway he showed his intensity to work in the gym and on the training pitches as soon as he was back, and that was why he hit the ground running when he came into the team.
‘I hope this is a minor injury. The feeling he had since the game is that it doesn’t feel too bad, which I’m hoping means we’ll be talking a couple of weeks, but we will wait for the scan.
‘I’m not worried too much, he’s a fit lad, and he’s shown he will be an important player for us.’
In a break with tradition, Lampard revealed two members of his starting XI
‘Kepa starts. With goalkeepers they have to be patient. Edou has been a regular pick with his form. This game is a game for Kepa who is training brilliantly well, acting brilliantly well.
‘These periods will happen in players’ careers. Sometimes they make you stronger and better at the other end.
‘Kepa’s been very supportive with Edou. What I see is someone who is supporting him, and training really well which is the main thing I look at. They have to push each other and I see that. His reaction has been spot on.
‘Billy will start tomorrow,’ added Lampard.
‘I value him a lot in this squad. You can say we have a lot of options in this squad but that can quickly change as you’ve seen with the winger situation. So I don’t want to think about that [Gilmour leaving on loan] until the window opens.’
Lampard was asked how he thinks Kai Havertz has settled in at Chelsea
‘He’s fitting in really well. He had really strong symptoms of Covid. He was ill and struggling for quite a while. Not all the players have had it like that. Some have been symptom-free. We had to factor that in and that’s why it took two weeks before we started him.
‘Going into when he fell ill his form was fantastic. He was playing some really good stuff in the no.8 role, but Covid cut that short. I have no worries long-term, in fact the opposite. He is going to be a huge player for this football club. He has all the attributes and personality and attitude. He is going to be a top-class player.
‘We have to understand some of the best players that graced the Premier League found it hard for quite a long time, and I think Kai has actually been very good.’
Lampard explained what he wants from tomorrow’s game
‘Certainly no injuries, and some minutes for people who have not played as much as they would want and to show they deserve to play more, and to gain some more match fitness.
‘You can’t switch the idea of winning on and off, so I want to see the right attitude in how we approach the game.’