Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard says new additions are missing Monday’s match against Brighton by Hakim Ziyech and Ben Chilwell while Thiago Silva is unlikely to participate.
On Monday night football, the Blues start their Premier League season away to the Seagulls-live on Sky Sports-but Lampard is expected to be without some of his new arrivals.
Attacking midfielder Ziyech and left-back Chilwell will not be fit enough to play while Brazil’s defender Silva is not training with the rest of the first team yet.
“Hakim Ziyech took a knee injury against Brighton so it won’t be healthy. Hopefully it’s a matter of time, a few time but we have to see,” Lampard said at the press conference on Thursday.
“Ben Chilwell is focusing on fitness and progressing this week. He’s moving in the right direction but he’s not going to be ready for Brighton.
“Thiago is in London but not training with us until the weekend, so I doubt he’s in contention for the game.”
However, Lampard was bolstered by Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta ‘s return to fitness, both of whom suffered hamstring injuries in Arsenal’s final FA Cup loss last season.
He added: “I’m definitely very glad to have both of them back. They’ve been training since yesterday and are in contention for Monday.
“The way they run, and their actions look like they’re over their injuries. We are going to have to do that.
Lampard coy on Mendy
Chelsea remain in talks with Rennes over a deal to sign £18m-rated Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
Lampard is keen to bid for Kepa Arrizabalaga-who has yet to persuade since his £72 m arrival two years ago but has declined to say whether or not the club is close to reaching a Mendy agreement.
“It’s a situation I don’t want to draw on. He is a Rennes player,” Lampard said.
‘I thrive under pressure’
Having already invested over £200 m on seven players, Chelsea has thrown massive financial backing behind Lampard this summer.
As well as Ziyech, Chilwell and Silva, Chelsea has signed Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, the highly-rated German internationals.
Lampard also took Malang Sarr, who will be loaned out for the season, and Xavier Mbuyamba, a teenage defender, to France U21.
Considering the amount of money he has invested so far and the growing demands, Lampard maintains that he is prepared for the challenge.
“It should be normal expectation upon me to do better,” he said. “I don’t want to worry about resolutions.
“We were very excited with positions in the Champions League last year, we were very much interested in the business we wanted to do. Work starts now. It’s been a bit of a broken pre-season, but you have to work hard very soon.
“I hope Chelsea fans are happy because we’ve brought in a high standard of talent, but I know what the Premier League takes to win.
“Manchester City and Liverpool have been running it for a couple of years. We know there are expectations, but we want to improve and not get ahead of ourselves.
“I am shocked that you didn’t think last season I wasn’t under pressure. I’m coping off the stresses. That is what I love to do.
“I didn’t come to the job battling for fourth place or getting in players from the academy, I came here to win.
“We were unable to hire last year and this year the club has agreed to bring players in. It changes the countryside, and we are ready to work.
For Frank Lampard’s first season at Chelsea there were only modest expectations, particularly when joining the club under a transfer embargo. Now the pressure will be on to deliver, armed with an expensive new team.
Lampard was always bound for the top job at Chelsea from the moment he revealed plans to go into coaching but his first season was not without its complications. In his first summer, he was unable to sign but instead decided to promote from inside, highlighting talents like Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour, and Tammy Abraham.
Chelsea will have a new level of expectation on their shoulders
With no new bodies either in January-despite the lifted embargo-Lampard still led his side to a top four finish and to the final of the FA Cup. He showed what he could do without the money thrown behind him by Roman Abramovich … but with the Russian owner doing just that now and Chelsea the big spenders this summer, the stakes for the 2020/21 campaign have been significantly increased.