Frank Lampard gave an eagerly anticipated update on Chelsea’s injury crisis during his press conference on Friday.
The Blues return to action on Saturday when they travel to Wolves, who are still searching for their first Premier League win this season.
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Lampard has overseen a mixed start to his managerial career at Stamford Bridge, with only one victory to show for his opening four games in charge.
However, Chelsea have been without several key players during the first few weeks of the season, with star defender Antonio Rudiger missing every game so far due to a knee injury.
The Blues will be boosted by his return this weekend, but N’Golo Kante remains out with an ankle problem.
Here’s everything Lampard had to say about that, plus much more…
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Antonio Rudiger is available for selection against Wolves
“Rudiger is fit to play. That’s a choice for myself [whether he starts]. He will have an important role. I know he has been important for the club and team since he has been here.
“Personality, character, quality. He is an international defender and we have missed him. As we have missed a few front line players who will strengthen us as a group.
“I am certainly pleased to have him back.”
N’Golo Kante is not fit to face Wolves
“Kovacic is fit to play. N’Golo is not fit yet. He still has issues with his ankle. The medical team are working with him.
“He is in a transition period and we are trying to get him on the pitch. He is doing some physical work but this game comes too soon for him.
“Hopefully he is close. I don’t want to jump the gun because we are waiting for improvements for that final step to get him where we want him to be on the pitch. Hopefully that will be in the next week or so.”
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James to play for Under-23s tonight
“They will get minutes and it’s important now because Callum has been training with us for a while but there are still issues that we need to make sure are okay with the injury itself, in terms of the strength and where the injury is.
“He’ll need to get match fit, which is why these games are really beneficial for him. It will be great to see that.
“Reece James is similar, not such a long time out but he needs games for similar reasons. I’m pleased with that.
“They are two young players that are going to be big for this club going forward and we’ll all be watching tonight.”
Wolves represent a difficult test for Chelsea
“They are a very good team. Got a lot of credit last year, quite rightly so, having moved up to the Premier League and performed like they did.
“A good way of playing, a style that is three at the back and very dangerous in terms of what their attacking players can do to you.
“Great record against the so-called bigger teams last season for a reason – because they defend so well and counterattack really quickly.
“It will be a difficult atmosphere in the stadium because there is good support behind their home team. We need to be ready on all levels because their record has been good recently.”
Pride in Mason Mount starring for club and country
“I was really proud. The work that he has put in since he was a young boy, we have all seen the photos as a youngster in a Chelsea kit, and his dream has come true on two levels, making his full debut for us and playing for England now.
“Now I would say the hard work begins. This is where the scrutiny ramps up. I thought he did well in both games, the minutes that he played. He looked bright and the way that we expect Mason to be.
“Now he needs to go up the gears and continue his progression, because I think there is a lot more.”
VAR isn’t what we thought it was going to be
“Maybe we should have all expected a bit of an in-between moment where we’re all coming to terms with. None of the intentions are bad from what I’ve seen up close and how it works behind the scenes.
“They are trying to get everything right. What I will appreciate is an admittance that there have been a few that haven’t been quite right.
“We now need to get down as a group and say, ‘right, we’ll all work together’. It’s here to stay at the moment but let’s get it as right as we can. It’s still not easy. It’s not as clear cut as everyone imagines.
“Video replay and suddenly everyone is happy – it’s obviously not that way. If they have the humility to say we can all improve, that’s a good thing.”
LIVE ON TALKSPORT
Here’s what is coming up this week…
- Derby vs Cardiff (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Liverpool vs Newcastle (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
- Fulham vs West Brom (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Tottenham vs Crystal Palace (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Norwich vs Man City (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
- Huddersfield vs Sheffield Wednesday (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
- Barnsley vs Leeds (Sunday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT