Frank Lampard has confirmed that Christian Pulisic will miss Chelsea’s Premier League clash against Newcastle with an injury, while Thiago Silva will also likely be absent after his international exploits.
The west London club are back in action in the early kick-off on Saturday but many of their players have yet to return to training, with anyone returning from international duty required to record a negative Covid-19 test before being reintegrated.
Both Pulisic and Kai Havertz did not go away with their nations, with the American having injured his hamstring while the German was forced to self-isolate two weeks ago after testing positive for coronavirus.
Although Pulisic’s injury is not as serious as the one he sustained at the end of last season, he remains sidelined, though Havertz has now returned to training.
The rest of Chelsea’s players will link up with the squad for their first training sessions later on Thursday or on Friday, giving precious little time to work together before the Newcastle clash, with Thiago Silva unlikely to play any part after only just returning from South America.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Lampard explained: ‘Christian Pulisic is not fit for Newcastle but he’s stepped up his training slowly. It’s been quite a problematic injury so we’ll stay cautious.
‘Kai Havertz is back, his isolation is over, tested negative two days ago so he’s just started training with us.
‘More on his own actually, to get individually some of his fitness back, he’s had two weeks at home.
‘We’re still wating on some results from the tests we now have to do as the players arrive back from their internationals. Unfortunately some of our players are arriving back this afternoon, some played last night, so with the 12.30 kick-off on Saturday there’s clearly a lot of challenges for us.’
On Ben Chilwell, who picked up a knock with England, Lampard continued: ‘With Ben Chilwell, I haven’t seen him yet. He stayed with England, he was on the bench last night.
‘Obviously he’s getting fantastic care with England so I’ll see him this afternoon, but he was improving – hence he was on the bench. So I am positive that he’ll be okay, but I’ll have to see him later on today or straight after this.’
On Pulisic’s injury struggles, Lampard added: ‘With Christian, we’re still searching. He’s in a position at the moment where he’s had a problematic injury and I think it’s normal. Every player is different, Christian had a history before coming to us of some muscular injuries, he’s had them again.
‘Everything about Christian and how he is around the training ground, how he prepares, how much he wants to play is perfect. So we need to try and find the right balance between playing and resting, and maintenance during the week to try and get the best out of him. He’s a young player still, it’s not abnormal and we will find a solution.
‘I don’t want to make more of it than it is because we want as many games out of Christian as we can possibly get because of his ability, but at the minute he’s injured and in the short term it’s a work in progress. But we have a great medical team here and we’re very much joined up in getting the best out of Christian to get him fit as much as we can.’