Every word Frank Lampard said on Pulisic, Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Chelsea's lunchtime kick-off
The Blues boss faced the media on Thursday afternoon ahead of the 12.30pm game on Saturday in the north east and here is what he had to say
Team news ahead of the game?
Christian Pulisic is not fit for Newcastle, but he’s stepped up his training slowly. It’s been quite a problematic injury so we will stay cautious.
Kai Havertz is back, his Isolation is over. He tested negative two days ago, so he’s just started training that’s more on his own to get individually some of his fitness back after two weeks at home.
Thiago Silva has just landed. He just messaged me this afternoon so he probably won’t be going to Newcastle because of the length of the journey and timings.
We are still waiting for some of the results of the tests that we now have to do as players are back from internationals. Unfortunately some of our players are arriving back this afternoon, some played last night so with the 12.30 kick off on Saturday there are clearly a lot of challenges for us.
Impressed with Mason Mount’s development after his England performances?
I’m impressed development. I think it shows how much Gareth Southgate sees him and relies on him and trusts in him. I have done from time in management. It’s nice to see a lot of positivity around Mason. It is well deserved.
Maybe he’s a player that has more quality passes in pressing moments in a game than a showreel of stepovers and flicks. Maybe that’s not as exciting to the modern fan, but for us managers, I think you can see how much we rely on him.
I get Gareth’s position in playing him. He played three games. He was the only player in the England squad of all the European playing players at club level that played three games. I know it adds to his games, but I understand Gareth’s position and I understand where he will be with that.
Everything about Mason is that he has a great attitude, he’s a fit young man and will have a lot of games coming up that I will need him to be fit for.
At the moment he’s coming back to train this afternoon. I have to look at each player in their own respect in terms of rotation, minutes in game, substitutions, when they can come on, because the schedule has never been busier, there’s never been more of a pressure on players.
But I can’t sit here and say Gareth Southgate shouldn’t make decisions he makes when he’s England manager and in the position he’s in. That’s just a part of the story. With Mason I hope that he comes through fresh because at the minute he’s in great form.
Your thoughts on bringing five substitutions back to the Premier League?
I think it is something we have to address again with all clubs. I know we had a vote early season. Nothing changed in terms of our professional environment since when we had five substitutes after the restart. In fact some things have tightened up, the schedule has become even more hectic.
There’s been no relaxation around it and yet we’ve gone back to the three subs. The reasons maybe managers are not making those three subs in game, if people want to argue they’re making one or two, if you have 10 players that you are fearful of tiredness in the latter stages of games, making a third sub after 70 minutes is a danger zone and you might have an injury after that. So I think there are many things.
My main concern and backed by a lot of managers, is the player welfare of the players that are under incredible stress. Particularly players in clubs that are playing in Europe. It’s every three or four days, week after week after week and we are not even at Christmas. Then the Christmas schedule looks the same and the international break has gone.
I don’t want anybody to cry their eyes out for players because we know how lucky we are to do this job. But everywhere else in Europe and around the world it seems has five subs and we at the moment don’t and we have to revisit that in my opinion.
More optimistic now that you’ll get fans back in before Christmas?
I am. I think it is something where the Government hasn't been vocal enough on, for whatever reason. I think we, as a public and a sport want to know whether it is positive or negative. I think today is the most positive I have heard an answer from the Government,
It wasn’t factual, I understand why not because it has to be safe first and foremost before we can have fans back in the stadium but when you see other areas of life at the moment where we are having gatherings that are controlled and in safe environment then of course, football will have to look at it and try and get fans back as quick as we can.
I am positive, I thought it was a very good interview, I appreciated listening to his words and let’s hope they get acted upon and then we can get fans back at any level to start off with.
Still waiting on players to be tested, we have seen 16 players positive, is that a concern?
I think it is a concern but it is also a concern in modern life. I think now we are in lockdown but before that, schools went back and life was resuming with a sense of normality but not quite and we have seen it in our world where cases are starting to go up again.
I don’t see why football should be any different. Maybe 16 is not a huge number considering the amount of people that are being tested, we are trying to keep our bubbles as strict as we can, we have done all along since the restart so lets hope those numbers don’t continue to go up.
Callum Hudson-Odoi didn’t agree with the title winners assessment….
Well, he’s a young man! He’s excited, I get it. I like confidence, I like the players feeling like that and I am delighted with Callum going away [with England], scoring goals and for me as a young developing player, it is always a reflection on how you train so it’s brilliant news for us and for Callum.
For me, it is my job to dampen what he said there and say that we know there is a long way to go, we are eight games in. We are in a decent position, recently we are playing well but there are so many things that we have to work on and improve on before we can start getting involved in that conversation. That’s up to us.
Fixture scheduling, Newcastle away at 12.30pm when you have just got players back is really not the best, is it?
No it’s not. I have to be honest, and I will be honest with it, if you talk about any team in the Premier League, we have been training with four players generally these last two weeks and the majority of our squad have been travelling.
Some are travelling just now, just landed now, they will travel again to fly to Newcastle, travel back from Newcastle, fly to Rennes on Monday, fly back from Rennes and when you look at the scheduling, for me it is just a common sense thing.
I think the broadcasters have never had as many slots for games as they have now, that 12.30pm slot, how often does it need to be there? If you look over the course of a season, I don’t know how many times, is it five international breaks and you’ve got players going away.
It is absolutely not the optimum way to have players preparing for a Premier League game, which is an incredible brand all around the world so you want the best of the brand.
It is very difficult for us to prepare for this game anywhere near where we want to. I want us to play to our best but it is very difficult circumstances.
How many players are missing?
I don't know, we are assessing today so we will see.
Leadership, what's the most important trait?
There are so many facets to it. As a leader, in simple terms, you have to be someone the team wants to follow and set a marker for it. I think in the modern day, it has to be someone who is at close quarters with their players.
I think man management is such a huge part of your job. The squad we have now, the squad which is a really strong squad, I have to make sure I am close to them all professionally and slightly off the pitch as well so I can get the best out of them individually and collectively.
That's man management and being humble. A humble leader is always someone I would have reacted to in regular conversations with their players.
Newcastle away always tough, but different with no fans there?
I am not sure about the fans. I don't know the answer to the fans one for any game, let alone the Newcastle one. Sometimes home fans can bring pressure to the team that wants to play counter attacking football and then they can't do so I am not sure about the fans. I do know that Newcaslte is always a very difficult game.
I played in those games and they were always very difficult. Particularly for us, we have the difficulties of the early kick off, I am not using it as an excuse but it is just a fact. A factor for us.
Steve Bruce is a great manager and he deserves great credit for the job he has done and the way he organises his team. It is a tough game on all fronts.
How is Ben Chilwell’s fitness?
With Ben Chilwell, I haven't seen him yet. He trained with England, he was improving hence why he was on the bench and got fantastic care so I am positive he will be okay but I will have to see later on today or straight after this."
Pulisic’s fitness needs managing?
Christian has had a problematic injury and I think it is normal, every player is different. Christian had a history of muscle injuries before he came to us and he has had them again. Everything about Christian, how he is around the training ground and how he prepares is absolutely perfect.
We need to try and find the right balance between playing, training and resting throughout the week. He is a young player still and it is not abnormal, we will find a solution and I don't want to make more out of it than it is because we want Christian available with his ability, but at the minute he is injured and in the short term he is a work in progress.
We have a great medical team here and we are very joined up in trying to get the best out of Pulisic as we possibly can.
Zouma's won more aerial duels than any player in Europe's top 10 leagues this season?
I saw that stat and I am not surprised. It is a fantastic stat and the level he is at, he will be very important for us and he has been very important for us this season at both ends of the pitch. It is something we looked at in the off season, we could have been better at times, certainly in terms of defending our own box.
That's the standard we need to keep. There are reasons we have had a decent run of clean sheets and not conceding many goals and Kurt is a factor in it. He has been a big part of that, every centre back and player in our team need to be switched onto the aerial threat against teams with individuals who can be dangerous in games.