Frank Lampard has provided a fitness update on his squad as Chelsea prepare to host Newcastle at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Midfielder N’Golo Kante will miss out having missed France’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Iceland with a groin injury, whilst Andreas Christensen will also miss the visit of Steve Bruce’s Newcastle side having picked up a hamstring injury whilst on international duty with Denmark.
There was, however, more positive news on Mateo Kovacic, who has returned to training following a thigh injury, whilst defender Antonio Rudiger is also nearing a first-team return following an injury-hit spell.
“N’Golo [Kante’s] not fit,” the Chelsea boss revealed in his pre-match press conference.
“He had a small groin issue in the warm-up to the first international game for France. We didn’t get him back until after the second game and he’s not fit for Saturday.
“[Mateo] Kovacic had a knock on his thigh but has trained the last couple of days so he’s in contention.
“Andreas Christensen has got a hamstring injury which will see him out for the next two weeks.
“[Antonio] Rudiger is training outside with the physios which is a progression for him. He a tough injury with some stop-start (features), which has been unfortunate for everybody.
“But he’s outside, it’s positive – a bit of work to be done for him for match fitness but it’s really positive for us that he’s outside.”
Lampard did however seem unhappy that the French national team didn’t send Kante back to Chelsea earlier than they did.
“We all have our selection problems, but the Kante one was not a laughing matter,” Lampard added. “We communicated before the first international. It was clear that he wasn’t fit to play the second game and he sat on the bench. I think it could have been handled better.
“I understand that when a player is on international duty that they are their players, but it was clear that he wasn’t fit.”