All the latest Chelsea news, views and transfer talk, including Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Thiago Silva as the Blues prepare to face Morecambe in the FA Cup
Here is your Chelsea morning digest for Saturday, January 9.
Lampard backs trio
Frank Lampard believes Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic can emerge from Chelsea’s poor spell of form as better players.
The Blues have suffered four defeats in their last six Premier League games and have slipped to ninth in the table. Lampard’s job, as a result, is under threat.
Werner’s woes in front of goal – he hasn’t scored since the beginning of November – have played their part in Chelsea ’s recent struggles. And Havertz has yet to deliver on his undoubted potential since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer for a fee of around £70 million.
Pulisic meanwhile has suffered with injury issues again this term but has only two goals to his name in 13 appearances in all competitions.
Lampard has – barring an outburst after the Boxing Day defeat to Arsenal – publicly supported his players and backed them to turn Chelsea’s form around in the coming weeks.
That was again the case when he spoke to the press ahead of the Blues’ FA Cup third round tie with Morecambe.
“I don’t think there was a season that I played at this club, for all the success we had, where we didn’t have difficult moments, meetings, a defeat, back-to-back defeats, or a bad period,” he said.
“It’s part and parcel of being a player. So I’m the first one who has to get positive and get excited (when things aren’t going well).
“Losing games is the biggest chance to improve in football, it’s the biggest chance to get better. When you’re a squad that’s young and new with players coming in, those are the moments that test them and make them better players.
“I can’t sit here and say I have absolute belief that Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Christian Pulisic are going to be top level players as they reach and arrive in the prime of their careers. If I say that it’s going to be an easy run for them…it’s impossible in football.
“So I have to be the one that states that to them, keeps their chins up, keeps them working, keeps them understanding the reactions needed in tough moments and the rest is down to them.
“Players will always be the ones to get you out of these moments. They have to go and perform.
Youngsters in contention
Frank Lampard has confirmed five players from the Chelsea academy are in contention to face Morecambe after training with the first-team squad this week.
The Blues boss is expected to heavily rotate his side against the Shrimps, with many regular starters unlikely to feature in the FA Cup third round tie following the intense festive period.
Injuries will influence Lampard’s team selection – Reece James (hamstring), Andreas Christensen (knee) and N’Golo Kante (hamstring) are all ruled out of the clash – on Sunday but he wants to ensure the door from academy to first team remains open for Chelsea’s young players.
“We’ve called up both Tinos (Anjorin and Livramento), Jude (Soonsup-Bell), who has been scoring goals in the youth team. We’ve called up Lewis Bate who has trained with us before and Henry Lawrence,” Lampard explained.
“It’s a great experience for them and it’s something I’ve wanted to do and last season was able to do pre-restart.
“It helps training because it’s really important to have competitive training and having young players enables you to be really competitive without killing the other players physically between games.
“We’ve had a long week and they’ve been really able to help that. They’ve also been able to show their qualities and it’s always great to gauge young players to see how quickly they take to the football side of training but also how their personalities react to the uplift in pressure and the level in training.
“It’s something I’ve always believed passionately for the club and I have seen a lot out of all of those players that have come to train with us.
“They have real potential for us and there are lots of steps for them in many different ways, but I’ve been really pleased to do it.
“It’s good for the older players because they can speak to the younger lads and help them. And for the young players it shows what they can aspire to.
Thiago Silva is struggling to keep up with the pace of the Premier League, according to former Tottenham and Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov.
But Chelsea have struggled of late winning only once in eight matches – and conceding in seven of those.
“Thiago Silva is 36, he moved to Chelsea and, although he hasn’t been that bad, to me it looks as though he is struggling to keep up with the pace of the Premier League,” Berbatov told Silva could be rested this weekend as Chelsea take on League Two side Morecombe in the third round of the FA Cup