Frank Lampard has reported he will only be without the suspended N’Golo Kante for Saturday’s trip to Craven Cottage.
That means Reece James is available again having missed the past few matches with a hamstring problem, and Andreas Christensen is back after suffering a knock against Aston Villa.
Kante has been nursing what Lampard described last week as a ‘minor hamstring injury’ but the boss confirmed he will be back training with the main group tomorrow, even though he won’t be eligible to face Fulham in what is our first league outing for a fortnight.
Winless in three in the league, the chance to enjoy some sustained graft at Cobham in the past two weeks has been a major positive, Lampard underlined in his press conference this afternoon. There has been no midweek action for the Blues in that time.
‘My concern has been training and the atmosphere around that because when you haven’t won for a few games it’s clear the players need to stay positive,’ the boss noted.
‘That starts from the staff. I have seen good reactions from the players. They have worked hard. We have had two pretty long weeks of training for pretty much the first time this season. We have had a chance to work in training on bigger elements of our game. We have worked at a really physical level which is important if you want to improve as a team.
‘No matter what squad you have, and particularly if you have young or new players, you need time to work,’ added Lampard.
‘Last season we had that, and even with a young and imbalanced squad we had a long pre-season and moments in the season where we could work.
‘Those two weeks have given us a chance to refocus on the basics of our game, what we are and how we want to play. I just want to see those things come through.’
Lampard also discussed the Fulham vs Chelsea rivalry and the form of Scott Parker’s side
‘It’s an exciting fixture. I always felt it had an extra edge to it. It has a different relationship to other derbies, Fulham were sometimes in the Premier League, sometimes not, but when they came they had a feeling of wanting to beat us.
‘Without fans it takes a slight edge off things, but mentally as players and as a club we should retain that passion of what this game means.
‘Fulham are playing well, they played very well last night against Tottenham, they could have won. That’s been their recent form.
‘We must credit Scott and his team. With a change of system and how they’ve worked, you can see a clear style of play. They are very well organised and don’t give many chances to teams. They have threats throughout their team.
‘They’ve drawn with Liverpool recently, they drew with Tottenham, and it’ll be a tough game no matter but we have to focus on ourselves.’