Injuries, transfers and a tricky test at St James’ Park were among the subjects Frank Lampard discussed at his press conference ahead of our trip to Newcastle.
Before travelling north, Lampard addressed the media at Cobham, answering their questions which, it being January, were initially centred on the transfer window. The boss didn’t have anything significant to update on.
‘There is no news on that front,’ said Lampard. ‘I won’t talk about individuals. What remains the same is the window is open and if there’s anything we can do to improve us, we will attempt to do it. There may be news, I’m not closing the door because I always want to improve us, but it has to be right in January.
Recent speculation has linked Ross Barkley, Olivier Giroud and Willian with moves away
‘There is no talk here of Ross Barkley going anywhere. He is our player. He has played the last couple of games and done very well.
‘There have been certain circumstances why Ross hasn’t featured as much this year, but I have a lot of faith in him. That was news I heard like everyone else this week, and no feeling towards it.
‘Olivier Giroud we know there may be something that could happen. The good thing about Oli is that he’s so experienced. I have a really good relationship with him, as do the club, so if all circumstances are right that may happen, but it’s not, so while it’s not he’s our player.
‘Willian is not going anywhere. We know his contract is up at the end of the season, he’s in conversation with the club, which are still ongoing. There is no news on that but he’s certainly our player now.’
Lampard expects Christian Pulisic to be out for around two weeks
‘We would like to think so, which kind of goes towards the break in February which might fall at a nice time and give us a bit more to play with. Hopefully he will be back for the other end of that break. It’s in line with how we expected him to be.’
Lampard was delighted to report Ruben Loftus-Cheek has made positive steps in his recovery from long-term injury
‘He is actually training now with the Under-16s, with the Under-18s, and progression to the under-23s in a pretty short space of time. the sooner he can be back training with us, the better, but we train with a real intensity. When you’ve been out for a long time, it’s very standard you bring him through the Academy years.
‘There’s a different look on Ruben’s face. He is more smiley and happy which I understand. It’s been tough for him. He’s not one who walks around with his head down or creates a negative atmosphere, but it’s a lonely place. That’s for everybody. He’s integrating more towards us which is great news for all of us.
‘The player he is, the lad he is, it can be easily forgotten from the outside we have missed a hugely influential player. If he can be training with us after the break, it might still need some competitive games but he might not be far away.’
Lampard think Newcastle’s injury problems could galvanise them, and he expects a tough game
‘Even though we have good away form in general every game brings new challenges. Going to Newcastle I know the emotion of the crowd, the very organised team they are, the manager they have, and also the threats they have. They have got some really good results this season. We will be taking nothing lightly.
‘We have to take this game head on. It is massively important we keep our focus game in, game out. We certainly can’t underestimate Newcastle because of the season they’re having.’
Before the press conference began, Lampard was present at the signing of a document that confirms Chelsea will officially adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, becoming the first sports team in the world to do so.
Under the leadership of Roman Abramovich, the club launched the ‘Say No to Antisemitism’ campaign in January 2018, which aims to tackle racism and discrimination on the pitch, in the stands and in wider society. Now adopted, Chelsea will ensure stewards and supporters are fully informed of the working definition, its importance and what to do if they witness antisemitism.
Before the signing Lord John Mann, the UK Government independent advisor on antisemitism, Dr Kathrin Meyer, the executive secretary of the IHRA, and Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck all spoke on the matter, explaining the significance of the IHRA definition of antisemitism and the major impact Chelsea’s role in tackling the problem has had. Buck said:
‘We believe that adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism is an important statement for our football club. Although we have been working in accordance with these guidelines for many years now, we hope that by formalising the IHRA classification, we can further tackle antisemitism and discrimination through better understanding and education.
‘Football has an unrivalled ability to do good in society, and we must harness this power to tackle all forms of discrimination in the stands and our communities.’
Lampard also commented on the signing:
‘It’s an important statement. We hope it makes an impact. Bruce, Lord Mann and Dr Meyer spoke very well about it.
‘I am proud the club makes such a strong stance against any form of discrimination and will be active in that going forward. Words are very easy, actions are another thing, and we have always been very strong on that and will continue to do so.’
More detail of our ‘Say No to Antisemitism’ campaign can be found here.
More details of the IHRA’s working definition can be found here.