Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Mendy out but Lampard ´excited´ to unleash Ziyech for Chelsea

SoccerNews in English Premier League 16 Oct 2020

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Chelsea will be without Edouard Mendy against Southampton but head coach Frank Lampard is excited to have Hakim Ziyech available at last. 

Goalkeeper Mendy suffered a thigh injury on international duty with Senegal and will be unavailable for Saturday’s game at Stamford Bridge. 

Lampard must now decide whether to start Kepa Arrizabalaga, who played in Spain’s 0-0 friendly draw with Portugal, or veteran Willy Caballero. 

Thiago Silva will also miss out but there is better news in attack, with Christian Pulisic in line for his second league game of the season and Ziyech finally ready to be in the squad nearly three months after arriving from Ajax. 

“Mendy won’t be fit for the match tomorrow,” Lampard told reporters on Friday. “We hope the injury’s not too long. 

“Thiago Silva, after his trip, he’s not unfit but he’s not ready to play the game because of the travelling and the game he played, so he won’t be in the squad.  Ben Chilwell is in the squad, so he’s got over some of the feeling which took him out of the England squad around the injury that he’s had for a while.

“Christian Pulisic is in the squad and fit to play. Hakim Ziyech is in the squad, not fit to start but fit to participate some minutes, we hope. 

“He’s worked so hard, he’s been fantastic in terms of his professionalism to get fit and he looks really good in training. 

“It’s match fitness. I’ve got a really open relationship with him to know where he’s at and how I feel about it, so it’s just game minutes we need now.

“But yes, of course, I’m excited to get him in and around it to bring what we brought him to the club for, which is to create chances for us, to be the talented player that we saw at Ajax and I look forward to seeing him play.” 

Defender Antonio Rudiger is also vying for game time, having played all three of Germany’s recent matches despite having not yet made an appearance for Chelsea this season. 

“Every player can play their way into the starting XI, the squad, that’s in every player’s hands,” Lampard said. “That’s how I try and work here: things I do are always for the best for the team, for the club, because we’re trying to get results every week. 

“Players all know that and the beauty of the window now being shut is we can get to work, know what the squad is, everyone knows they can contribute, and we’ll need them and rely on them because of the amount of games we play. 

“Toni’s the same as every player on that one.”

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