OLLY GREENWOOD / AFP
Frank Lampard bemoaned on Friday the “worst injury” crisis among the Premier League’s top sides as his Chelsea team prepare to face Everton with as many as nine frontline players unavailable.
“It hasn’t been spoken about that much but we’ve had probably the worst injury list of certainly the top group of the table I think, lots of numbers injured, important players injured, (N’Golo) Kante, (Ruben) Loftus-Cheek and others,” Lampard said on Friday.
“We started the season that way and it’s happened again in the middle of the season. And we’re working against that to try to get the best results.”
Mateo Kovacic is out of Sunday’s match at Stamford Bridge with an Achilles problem while Brazil forward Willian will face a late fitness test on his own Achilles issue.
Lampard revealed Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic played in an “in-house game” at Chelsea’s training ground on Friday.
Jorginho starts a two-match league suspension, while Kante is still out with an adductor problem, Andreas Christensen remains doubtful and Tammy Abraham is out with his ankle complaint.
Meanwhile Callum Hudson-Odoi suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury in his first full training session back with Chelsea’s first team.
“Callum had a re-injury, yesterday. We’re having a scan on him this afternoon. So he will be longer than expected,” Lampard said.
“It’s tough, he wasn’t rushed back, and we had all the signs that he was fit to train. Then he re-injured it on his first training session with us.”
Lampard said former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti, now in charge at Everton, would receive a warm reception on his return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The Chelsea boss said he had enjoyed working as a player with the Italian during his spell at the London club, which included Premier League and FA Cup triumphs.
“Very well-respected in-house and to the fans, I think a well-respected period at the club,” said Lampard. “He’s a gentleman, a fantastic manager.
“I loved working with him personally. I think he’ll get a great reception.”