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Lampard explains Aubameyang snubbing as Chelsea handed further double injury blow



(Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

Frank Lampard has revealed why Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been snubbed since his caretaker appointment despite Chelsea struggling for goals.

The 33-year-old has played just 20 times for Chelsea this season after arriving from Barcelona last summer. During that period, Aubameyang has only been able to net on three occasions, two of which came in the games against AC Milan in the Champions League back in October.

Aubameyang was an outcast under former boss Graham Potter, surprisingly left out of the Champions League knockout squad, and has failed to hit it off with caretaker boss Frank Lampard.

Goals have been a huge problem for Chelsea this term. 30 goals in 32 Premier League matches tells the story and why they are placed in 11th currently.

“This has been a problem that predates me coming into this,” responded Lampard on the lack of goals, following Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat to Brentford on Wednesday.

“When there are not so many goals you also have to make sure you’ve players who can do a tactical job and work for the team. We saw that against Madrid, played a similar starting lineup in terms of goal, everybody told me there aren’t many goals, those are my options.

“We have to keep working and fighting to try and create opportunities to score goals. I think it’s two things. Maybe there aren’t goals so much in the team and when you are low on confidence, that last bit, that last chance. Auba comes on and has a couple of moments. Auba hasn’t played so many minutes, maybe a fresh Auba comes on and scores those goals.

“There are different parts to that. It’s a clear issue with the squad hence why we haven’t scored enough goals for a team like Chelsea.”

Aubameyang was brought off the bench at half-time when Chelsea were one nil down in the capital. His, alongside Mykhailo Mudryk‘s, introduction was positive and despite having a couple of chances to find the back of the net, offered the hosts some positivity on another grim night.

Lampard praised Aubameyang’s impact and explained why he has been snubbed in recent weeks, which could now open up a chance for him to have a run of games in the final six matches of the season.

“Yeah, I think so (Aubameyang added an extra threat),” added Lampard. “Auba has been a tough one for me because I have complete respect for him as a player, scored 300 and whatever goals in his career. He couldn’t play the two Madrid games for me because he’s not in the squad. He came on against Wolves. For a number nine particularly to be sharp and to be playing regularly is key.

“To see him train, when we’ve not had big minutes to train and the last few days I’ve seen him be able to train. He was in my thinking for today anyway. He certainly has the profile of a No.9 and we don’t have that elsewhere in the squad, so I did see a difference.”

Chelsea cannot wait for the season to be over. Reece James (hamstring) and Mason Mount (pelvic) are both set to miss the rest of the campaign due to injury, while Kai Havertz (knee) and Kalidou Koulibaly (hamstring) were absent against Brentford.

But Lampard has been handed two further problems to deal with. Marc Cucurella will be sidelined for a few weeks, while Marcus Bettinelli continues to recover from an injury.

Lampard added: “Cucurella is injured. He injured himself in training two days ago. He will be out for a few weeks with a quad injury. Bettinelli injured, recovering.”

Chelsea’s challenges continue to get tougher as they next head across the capital to Arsenal next Tuesday, who suffered a huge blow to their Premier League title hopes following a 4-1 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday.