Frank Lampard has reported only Ruben Loftus-Cheek is unavailable for Sunday’s trip to Tottenham, which he says comes off the back of an excellent full week’s training by a group of players desperate to turn recent form around.
The boss was speaking at his traditional pre-match press conference ahead of our maiden visit to the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and before he looked forward to the game and coming up against Jose Mourinho’s side, he had good news on the injury front, confirming Fikayo Tomori, Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud are all available again.
‘Ruben’s making good progress which is really positive, but he’s nowhere near contention for matchplay yet,’ Lampard said of our long-term absentee.
‘Other than that, we’re all pretty good. Ross, Tomori and Giroud are fine. We’ve got a fit squad. Nice selection problems I suppose.’
Lampard spoke in detail about the nature of training since the Bournemouth loss
‘At the beginning of the week there was some much-needed rest. I don’t like to call upon tiredness as an excuse, but the last performance at home where we didn’t show the edge we normally have been, we were maybe looking at a bit of tiredness.
‘It’s been a long time since we’ve had a week to work, and it means can do things more physical and more active. It feels valuable.
‘We’ve worked on the training ground more than speak too much. It’s been a busy week with Christmas responsibilities, but we have focused completely on training and we’ll have meetings in the build-up to the game.
‘We have a good spirit and a good group. Questions obviously start to be asked of yourselves in-house when you get some difficult results. It’s important to be upfront and honest with each other.
‘I see a positive group in training, a team training hard, a group that are together. That’s all I can ask for. Now of course we need the results to turn back a little back because the last few I am not happy with.’
Lampard admitted he has some big selection decisions to make
‘A lot of people are fit; we have decent numbers and a competitive squad – they are showing that in training. I have to choose what I feel is right.
‘Off the back of a negative result last week and the edginess that brings, players are trying to push to show they want to play in this big game. It makes it difficult.
‘But the rules are always the same: it’s what you do day in, day out that gets you back in that team. It’s not just every Saturday or every matchday, it’s every training session and how you are around the group.’
Lampard will be facing Mourinho for the second time in his managerial career
‘I’m happy to go up against Jose. He was a big influence on my career. To go up against him last year for Derby against Manchester United was a big deal for me. I’ll always have respect for him, but the bigger thing is Chelsea Tottenham, and what that rivalry means, what it should mean to our players and us.
‘That’s the beauty of football, its rivalries, what you feel about your club. What our fans will demand on Sunday is that we show on the pitch what they will feel during the game, which is absolute passion for winning.’
Lampard also assessed the season as a whole with Christmas around the corner
‘There have been some real positives, and I think it’s very important not to get caught up in all the negatives after a few difficult results. We have qualified for the next stage of the Champions League; we are in fourth place which I don’t think many people would have given us coming towards Christmas.
‘We know we can do better, but the big picture is we need to be confident and positive and keep moving forward.’