Frank Lampard has confirmed that Christian Pulisic is still struggling with a hamstring injury and will miss Chelsea’s clash with Sheffield United – but Kepa Arrizabalaga is available again after recovering from a shoulder problem.
Pulisic pulled up in Chelsea’s warm-up at Burnley last weekend and had to be replaced by Timo Werner in Lampard’s starting XI before also skipping the side’s win over Rennes on Wednesday evening.
The American suffered a similar injury after scoring in August’s FA Cup final and missed the start of this season as a consequence, meaning he has made just five appearances in all competitions for the Blues.
Pulisic’s anger and frustration was clear to see as he threw his training bib to the floor and stormed down the tunnel at Turf Moor last weekend and Lampard confirmed he would be without the forward at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon.
‘No, he’s not fit to play,’ the Chelsea head coach said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
‘He’s still suffering with his hamstring.’
Asked whether Pulisic was back in training, Lampard replied: ‘No, he’s not training at the moment.’
The United States international briefly returned to low intensity training but was still feeling the effects of the injury.
‘To be clear, he trained at a low level in midweek when I made those quotes and he wasn’t comfortable,’ Lampard added.
‘So we have to keep looking for the right solution.’
Summer arrival Edouard Mendy has had an impressive start to life at Chelsea, recording clean sheets in his last six games after replacing Kepa Arrizabalaga between the sticks in west London.
But Kepa is back in contention again, despite some discomfort in his shoulder.
‘Kepa has recovered,’ Lampard said when asked about the Spaniard’s fitness.
‘He’s still getting a slight bit of pain but he’s in the squad for tomorrow.’
Kai Havertz is self-isolating and unavailable after returning positive test for Covid-19 and Lampard said it was unclear whether the attacking midfielder would be able to take part in Germany’s upcoming games with the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Spain.
‘I don’t know that, we’ll have to wait until he’s symptom-free first of all,’ he continued.
‘And then he’ll have to take to try and get in with a negative test.
‘So that’s not decided at the minute. It’s not clear.’
Chelsea head into their clash with Sheffield United on the back of a seven-match unbeaten streak and will no doubt be confident of beating Chris Wilder’s men, who are still without a win this season.
However, the Blades came away from Stamford Bridge with a 2-2 draw last term and Lampard is expecting a ‘very, very tough match’.
‘It’s a big challenge,’ Lampard continued.
‘I want to be clear going into the game that Sheffield United are an amazing team with an incredible manager.
‘If you look at the table, you’ll see a position that’s – not I suppose false – but we should not take that as a guideline of the game in front of us.
‘They’re still that great team that had such a great season last year so it’s a very, very tough match.’