Chelsea could soon have Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic return back from injury, but Frank Lampard is being extra careful with Pulisic.
Christian Pulisic is close to returning to action for The Blues’ but Frank Lampard is hesitant of rushing the winger and leaving him prone to injury.
United States international Pulisic struggled with muscular injuries in his first season for the London club and missed two months at the start of the year with a torn abductor.
The 22-year-old was an instant hit upon his return after lockdown, scoring five goals and providing two assists.
Pulisic is yet to play this season after going off injured in the FA Cup final loss to Arsenal with a hamstring injury in August.
However, Frank Lampard said to the media on Friday that a return is on the horizon.
“No, Christian isn’t ready for the squad, nor is Hakim Ziyech, but they’re both training with us now, which is good news,” he told the media ahead of Saturday’s Premier League meeting with West Brom.
“We hope to have them with us in proper match contention over the next week or two.”
Lampard is ready to be extremely patient with Pulisic in particular, as he aims to avoid any further injury situations when he eventually returns to action.
“There’s always a concern about a player’s fitness when the history says there’s been some injuries. Last season we did have them with Christian, I was questioned many times on him, when he did and didn’t play,” said Lampard.
“Of course, when you look at a player with his recent record, you’re trying to find the right balance of getting the best out of him, which we saw in big periods last year, and making sure you don’t overcook him and leave him susceptible to injury, particularly with a player of his explosive pace and balance. It’s a fine line.
“We’re working on that and Christian’s also very open to that. He wants to play, he’s so hungry to play and he’s very nearly fit now, but it’s certainly something we have to manage with him this season.
“We’ve all seen the talent and it’s something we want to get right. I’m not saying it’s a fundamental, chronic issue because it’s not, but we want to get as many minutes of Christian – the really great Christian that we saw lots of last season – on the pitch.”
New signings Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell made their debut in the 6-0 EFL Cup win over Barnsley on Wednesday.
While Lampard confirmed the pair could likely start against West Brom, he is again keen not to demand too much from players who are not yet at the maximum fitness level.
“I believe they are fit enough to start, but I do also have to take into consideration the fact that we play another game with a pretty tight turnaround on Tuesday.
Then another on Sunday, and then the international players will maybe go and play three games for their country, so I’m managing that one,” he said.
“Having come through that game the other day as they did, I think particularly Thiago did start that game and had 60 minutes in the bank, so that was good to see.
“With Ben, I’ll maybe be a little more cautious just to make sure, his injury’s been a bit of a challenging one, so I’ll make those calls. But they’re in a good place at the moment.”
Chelsea fans will be hoping to have both Pulisic and Ziyech return from injury to keep the momentum going after an impressive performance in the EFL Cup.
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