Chelsea will be short of midfield options for Tuesday’s Premier League game at Crystal Palace with N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic both injured, manager Frank Lampard said on Monday.
Frenchman Kante picked up a hamstring strain in the second half of Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Watford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday while Croatian Kovacic did not feature last week in the 3-2 defeat at West Ham United after injuring his Achilles.
“Kante won’t be in the squad. He hurt his hamstring, it is a low level hamstring injury, maybe a week (before he returns),” Lampard told reporters in a virtual news conference.
“Kovacic trained with us but won’t be ready. (Centre back Fikayo) Tomori had a setback, hopefully (he is) back next week.”
Chelsea are fourth in the standings with 57 points from 33 matches, two points ahead of Manchester United and a point behind Leicester City in the battle for a top-four finish.
Asked whether midfielder Jorginho would return to the team as a result, with the Italian yet to feature since the league restart after the COVID-19 hiatus, Lampard was non-committal.
“He has been professional. He wants to play, every player does,” the manager said. “He always trains well, what I’d expect. Important players are in the squad to support players.
“We’ll see about my selection tomorrow. I don’t want to go into details of why I pick a team, they are just my choices.”
Callum Hudson-Odoi has yet to start a game since the league resumption too and Lampard said he needed to match what fellow wingers Christian Pulisic and Willian have offered recently.
Brazilian Willian has four goals and an assist while United States international Pulisic has scored twice in Chelsea’s last five matches in all competitions.
“We’re seeing what Christian Pulisic and Willian are doing. Callum needs to show something similar,” Lampard said. “He needs to work hard daily in training and when he gets his opportunities really show input in games.”