Frank Lampard reported this afternoon he will be without two midfielders for the trip to Selhurst Park tomorrow, and the boss spoke about the possibility of Jorginho playing his first minutes since the restart.
There is no let-up in games or press conferences for Lampard, who spoke to the media at Cobham via his laptop, as has been the case since the resumption.
First up was a question about the latest injury news ahead of our game at Crystal Palace, beginning with N’Golo Kante, who limped off against Watford. He is one of three Blues who will be missing.
‘Kante won’t be in the squad,’ said Lampard. ‘He has a low-level hamstring injury. We’re hoping it’ll be a week or so. I would expect we’ll be very lucky to have him for Sheffield United.
‘[Mateo] Kovacic trained with us today, he’s not ready for this game, hopefully the next. [Fikayo] Tomori is still not ready. He had a small setback in training so hopefully next week.’
Jorginho has not yet featured since the restart
‘He’s been very professional about it. He wants to play as every player does. One of the hardest parts of the job is telling a player they’re not playing, particularly when they train well, and Jorginho always trains well.
‘He has handled it professionally, and that’s what I would expect. It’s important players over the course of a long season, in a competitive squad like we have, are there to support other players when they’re playing and they’re out. We’ll see with my selection tomorrow whether he plays.’
Lampard considered whether his players should be interested in our rivals’ games and results
‘Football has never been more on TV than it is now. I expect them to buy into that and want to see what results are happening around us. On a sporting level that means you care. And then there has to be a slight switch-up and a focus on yourselves. We can’t control all the other games; we can certainly control what we can do. It can fire you up seeing what else is happening.
‘The position we’re in means a lot is in our own hands, and that’s the main thing. When we train and when we prepare and when we play, the main thing is we focus on how we absolutely put out the best performance.’
We start the midweek round of fixtures with Manchester United two points behind us in fifth
‘They’re closest, they’re a very strong team, they’re in great form for a long period of time. They have got really good individual players. You have seen the momentum they have gained across their front three, all scoring, lots of goals. They’re the biggest threat from behind, but this is the Premier League. It looks that way today, but it’s how each team finishes the season.’
Drinks breaks have been a topic of discussion recently and Lampard gave his verdict on them
‘They were brought in with the right intention. As a coach you try and use it if you can, because any moment to speak with the players during games can be pretty precious. It’s not an uneven playing field in that sense; we all have the same periods to talk to our players.
‘It was brought in place for this short period of the season, maybe they’ll see it through to the end, but I can’t see it going any further than that. I don’t think anybody would want that.’
Lampard finished by detailing some differences between Christian Pulisic and Eden Hazard
‘Eden had a special talent straightaway of being able to receive the ball, show great balance and go past players. He would draw a lot of players towards him to open up space for others. He was pretty unselfish with making assists that way.
‘Christian is possibly more direct in his style sometimes, in terms of how he goes past players and runs off the ball, which I like. He has a real ability to break a line and run forward. That’s a great trait in the modern game.
‘Eden has been here and done it, and did it to an incredible level. Christian has it in his hands to make a real impact over a period of time. The thing I’m so happy with now is when we’re finding it hard to break teams down, he is taking responsibility to change that. It’s been great to see.’
Lampard explains how Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi can contribute now and in the future