Head Coach Frank Lampard spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s trip to Molineux to face Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Here is the full transcript of what Lampard had to say to the media…
On the International break –
“With work. It is a mixed bag this period, so we lose a lot of players to internationals so the ones who were here have been working and resting. You have to give them some days with their families at the front end of it. Working. More on conditioning, really, because we are still in the early stages of the season so there isn’t much tactics that you can do without the big group. We have worked hard, we now have the players back, relatively decent and fit. In large. We are ready for the weekend.”
On being able to do any team bonding sessions during the International break –
“Unfortunately not, nothing exciting to tell you. Sometimes I think there is a time and a place for those things, and I respect that and I will look at those things.
But I think also, it has been intense, pre-season and at this level it is intense, away from families a lot, so if there is an opportunity to give then I think they would prefer to be with their families rather than with me on the clay-pigeon shooting.”
On Mason Mount making his England debut –
“I was really proud. The work that he has put in since he was a young boy, we have all seen the photos as a youngster in a Chelsea kit, and his dream has come true on two levels, making his full debut for us and playing for England now.
Now I would say the hard work begins. This is where the scrutiny ramps up. I thought he did well in both games, the minutes that he played. He looked bright and the way that we expect Mason to be, now he needs to go up the gears and continue his progression, because I think there is a lot more.”
On VAR (being told that there were four mistakes) –
“I won’t agree with four, it was five because we had one at Norwich which was a penalty on Azpilicueta that wasn’t reviewed. So I think that was from my point of view, I think all managers will have their own ones which they think was a clear penalty.
Maybe we should have all expected a bit of an in-between moment where we’re all coming to terms with. None of the intentions are bad from what I’ve seen up close and how it works behind the scenes. They are trying to get everything right. What I will appreciate is an admittance that there have been a few that haven’t been quite right.
We now need to get down as a group and say ‘Right, we’ll all work together.’ It’s here to stay at the moment but let’s get it as right as we can. It’s still not easy. It’s not as clear cut as everyone imagines. Video replay and suddenly everyone is happy – it’s obviously not that way. If they have the humility to say we can all improve, that’s a good thing.”
On Wolves so far this season –
“Very good team. Got a lot of credit last year, quite rightly so, having moved up to the Premier League and performed like they did. A good way of playing, a style that is three at the back and very dangerous in terms of what their attacking players can do to you. Great record against the so-called bigger teams last season for a reason – because they defend so well, counterattack really quickly. Difficult atmosphere in the stadium, good support behind their home team. We need to be ready on all levels because their record has been good recently.”
On Nuno Espirito Santo as a coach –
“Very impressed from the outside. You can only see positives from the outside. It’s hard to know what exactly goes on but they way they got promoted, the way they sustained it, the way he shows himself in the media, with his players, and the unity they seem to have. The style they have is not unique, of course, but its their style that they really believe in. I appreciate managers that have their way, stick to it and have got success through it, stay not humble but you don’t hear him shouting from the rooftops.”
On Callum Hudson-Odoi playing for the U23s tonight –
“Yeah, Callum is going to play for the 23s this evening along with Reece James. They will get minutes and it’s important now because Callum has been training with us for a while but there are still issues that we need to make sure are OK with the injury itself, in terms of the strength and where the injury is. He’ll need to get match fit, which is why these games are really beneficial for him. It will be great to see that.
Reece James is similar, not such a long time out but he needs games for similar reasons. I’m pleased with that. They are two young players that are going to be big for this club going forward and we’ll all be watching tonight.”
On Antonio Rüdiger returning after his injury layoff –
“Rudiger is fit to play. That’s a choice for myself [whether he starts]. He will have an important role. I know he has been important for the club and team since he has been here. Personality, character, quality. He is an international defender and we have missed him. As we have missed a few front line players who will strengthen us as a group. I am certainly pleased to have him back.”
On Rudiger being a potential leader –
“It is important as a team, everyone talks about how young we are and becoming, I don’t want a young team for the sake of it. I want leaders within that. Rudiger isn’t old but he certainly needs to take on the responsibility of being a leader. I see it in his personality that he has. It has to be channelled in the right direction and he can then be very influential for the team and also for the likes of Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori. This happens when you become more experienced and he is ready to take on those roles.”
On Tammy Abraham –
“It has been very good. I am delighted for Tammy and his goals in the last two games. I keep saying it, but his attitude and enthusiasm to train and improve is always there daily. Hence the goals, I think those things come hand-in-hand. As I said about Mason before, I want more, he wants more and they want more. It will have to continue because there’s competition. Giroud and Batshuayi all want that spot or those spots up front. They all need to be on their toes.”
On the fitness of Mateo Kovačic and N’Golo Kanté –
“Kovacic is fit to play. N’Golo is not fit yet. He still has issues with his ankle. The medical team are working with him. He is in a transition period and we are trying to get him on the pitch. He is doing some physical work but this game comes too soon for him. “Hopefully he is close. I don’t want to jump the gun because we are waiting for improvements for that final step to get him where we want him to be on the pitch. Hopefully that will be in the next week or so, and again, alongside Rudiger, Willian, Callum and Ruben. They are big players who are really going to up our level because they will compete to play. Pedro is fine too, yes.”
And concludes the press conference.