Kalidou Koulibaly has handed Chelsea a huge injury blow ahead of their matches against Brighton & Hove Albion and Real Madrid, caretaker boss Frank Lampard has confirmed.
The 31-year-old was forced off during the second half of Wednesday night’s 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Koulibaly, who signed from Napoli last summer, left Chelsea sweating over his fitness and Lampard has now revealed the defender will miss several weeks of the end part of the 2022/23 season.
Ahead of their Premier League clash against Brighton on Saturday at Stamford Bridge, Lampard was asked about the Senegal international’s availability. He replied: “No, he won’t be available for either game (vs Brighton and Real Madrid).
“Hamstring injury. It will be a matter of weeks rather than days.”
The 44-year-old added: “He’s a very good, very experienced player. Albeit people talk a lot about our squad, when you haven’t got lots of cover in certain times and a Champions League squad that’s different to the Premier League squad, of course it’s a disappointment for him and us.
“But (it’s) an opportunity (for others) and we carry on without him and hopefully he gets fit as quick as he can.”
Lampard confirmed many changes are set to be made against Brighton as Chelsea eye their first win since his return following back-to-back defeats to Wolves and Real Madrid.
On needing to use games as a chance to see players, like Benoit Badiashile and Carney Chukwuemeka, with not much time on the training ground, the Chelsea boss continued: “Yes, but they can’t all play. The maths doesn’t work.
“Over the period I’m here; firstly, I want to win football matches because we are Chelsea and that’s obviously what’s expected from us, from ourselves, fans, outside alike.
“Secondly, I want to be part of a process in this period where players have an opportunity if they train, if they deserve to play they get an opportunity on the pitch to show what they can do.
“Tomorrow (Saturday) will be an opportunity for some players who didn’t play in the Champions League, possibly didn’t play at the weekend, to come in because it’s a game where we absolutely need freshness and energy as well, so every opportunity they should take.”
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