Frank Lampard addressed the media ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League clash against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Four games are left before the 2022/23 season concludes and Lampard has a chance to claim back-to-back wins for the first time since March when relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest visit the capital.
Steve Cooper’s side are three points above the relegation zone after a crucial 4-3 win over Southampton in midweek. A win at Stamford Bridge will take them one step closer to top-flight survival, while three points for the Blues will offer Lampard’s squad another confidence lift.
Here is what the Chelsea head coach said on Friday afternoon in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Premier League clash.
Ben Chilwell’s fitness
“Chilwell is not fit. We are hoping he will be fit possibly for the last game or two of the season. Mount is maybe a little bit similar, but Reece I think is slightly behind that. I feel for him (Chilwell), he wants to play and represent the club. We miss big players. Reece, Mason, Chilly are big internationals, successful with the club and I’ve not really had the benefit of them in this short period. Chilly a little bit, but Mason hasn’t really contributed at his top level where he has been fully fit.”
Wesley Fofana update
“Wes has been training this week, so he is good.”
“He won’t be fit for this game. Probably questionable, in line with the others, for the final week of the season.”
“He’s trained with us the last couple of days, a little bit managed, not full training. Again, looking at next week where we have three games in six days, so all of those, hopefully in contention. But will they be match fit is another question.”
N’Golo Kante hinting he wants to stay at Chelsea
“I have got no understanding as to N’Golo’s situation. He’s obviously a very, very high level player. Absolutely (he has lots to offer). Every game he has played with us is similar to N’Golo at his (best) level. He has been a huge asset for the club.”
Getting a win last time out vs Bournemouth
“Nice feeling, players have to strive for that again, that’s what builds winning teams. It’s a small step forward.”
Chelsea playing have a big say in final games of season – relegation, top four and title race. Talk to players about it?
“No, not in that context. Just that play for pride in every game no matter what the consequences are for everybody else. It’s our consequence that we are concerned about.”
Win changing the mood
“In football, it can be. But you can’t get carried away with a win. As much as I can look at defeats and see positives, I can look at a win and see a lot of things we need to improve. It’s nice for that general feeling of confidence within the building. In terms of where we want to be, it’s a small step. It has to be carried on with. Just by celebrating it all week is not going to be the answer.”
“Another game comes with a team fighting for their Premier League lives. We have to match that intensity and desire. A really big one (test). They’ve given big teams recently: Liverpool, Manchester United, winning against Southampton and beating the team of a level like Brighton. We have to give them complete respect. Strong squad, strong coach, effective way of playing. They’ve evolved through the season in terms of their style. A lot of speed on the counter attack. Very threatening in set pieces and some of their more direct stuff. They are fighting for everything.”
“If form hasn’t been great, since I’ve been here and proceeding that, it’s very normal and human it can build up some nervousness amongst players and fans. The only way through that is to dig in and try to do the right things. That’s what the players have to do, then the crowd will go with them, then you can be a force. That’s what we are striving for.”
Lewis Hall’s chances of starting this weekend
“Lewis has a chance. I was tempted to put him on last week, but with the nature of the game I felt the experience of Azpi was more suitable at that point. I will view this game on its merits. I’ve been really impressed with his training. He’s a really good, really talented player. If anything, if there is one thing, he needs to come out of himself that bit more because he should really trust how good he is and feel at home with the group – I think he does feel that. Games I’ve watched from afar, I didn’t get to work with him before because he was younger, I have been really impressed. He hasn’t dampened that at all, the opposite. He’s in the running for the last four games to be involved.”
Lewis Hall not joining England U20 squad
“It’s my decision that he needs to stay with us for the four games. We’ve got injuries with both of our left-backs who have been playing with us this season. It leaves us where we need and want Lewis.”
How Lewis Hall reacted to Chelsea’s decision
“He takes things the same. A straight face. He would’ve wanted to play for his country, to be honoured to represent. Normal, but a good thing. But also, he’s come through this academy and will be desperate for opportunity and that’s what I sensed from him. He did it right on both sides. He would’ve been happy to go, but now he’s happy to hopefully have some opportunity in these last few games.”