With Jorginho, Ross Barkley and long-term absentee Ruben Loftus-Cheek unavailable, there is a good chance N’Golo Kante will start his first Premier League game since the beginning of October when Crystal Palace visit the Bridge tomorrow.
In his press conference at Cobham this afternoon, Frank Lampard analysed the role Kante can play in our midfield, and he also considered whether he can be a direct replacement for Jorginho, who is suspended having accrued five yellow cards this season.
‘When people say he’s the best defensive midfielder in the world, I don’t think that’s the full story,’ Lampard said of Kante.
‘There’s much more to his game than that. A defensive player in my mind is someone who sits in front of the back four, or back three. He has got much more than that, and he has shown all of those assets over the last four years, whoever he’s been playing for. He can give you that, and hopefully that’s what we will be getting now he’s fit again.
‘Jorginho and N’Golo have different qualities, that’s clear to see, but when we set up the midfield it won’t just be a like for like in terms of those two. It will be how we set up as a unit rather than the individual replacement.’
Injury latest on Mount, Barkley, Rudiger and Loftus-Cheek
Lampard said he was proud to have picked up the Manager of the Month award and stressed the need to finish this batch of games before the international break on a high
‘It’s been a positive month, hence the award I’ve got personally and the team has moved up the table, but in football we know things can change very quickly. Going into a break of course we want to get the right result, but we have to respect every game in the Premier League, and we have to respect Crystal Palace who are not far off from being up or around us. They have shown some really good form and performances this year, so by no means is it going to be an easy one for us.
Lampard is hopeful the so-called Manager of the Month curse doesn’t strike
‘I have heard it, I know of it! I am relatively superstitious and I always was as a player. I have carried that into my management, so hopefully the players can go and prove the curse wrong tomorrow because we want to keep our momentum.’
Five Chelsea players are in the latest England squad, including Callum Hudson-Odoi for the first time this season
‘I’m delighted, particularly because there are some new call-ups. It’s pretty much new for Tammy, Fikayo is a new call-up this year, Callum has come back in having been injured for a long time, Mason is a new call-up this year.
‘I am pleased their form and dedication has got them those call-ups. I know they’re proud, I’m proud as a manager to have them in the England squad. To see young lads getting their first steps in the team is great.’