…… Lampard updates on Kante, Mount and Thiago Silva chances of facing Real Madrid
Ahead of the first leg of our Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid, Frank Lampard confirmed that N’Golo Kante, Mason Mount and Thiago Silva are all in contention to play.
Frank Lampard was back in the Chelsea dug-out for the first time since returning to the club as caretaker manager when we took on Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, but has embarked on a much longer away trip in midweek as we continue our Champions League campaign.
Tomorrow night we take on reigning champions Real Madrid in the Spanish capital in the first leg of our quarter-final, and Lampard was pleased to confirm he will have close to a full squad at his disposal at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
‘They’re all fit, they’re all in the squad. They are good and they’re here.’
Real Madrid vs Chelsea N’Golo Kante injury update
Lampard also expanded on Kante’s return and why he believes the Frenchman can perform at a high level straight away.
‘I think N’Golo’s a special player. I know the difficulties N’Golo’s had recently with injuries but in terms of coming back at a really high level, I witnessed him do that.
‘He did in the Super Cup against Liverpool a few years ago He passed a fitness test, hadn’t played for a long time and he was the best player on the pitch for 120 minutes. He has the capacity to do that because he’s a special player.
‘When we miss him as a club we miss him because of how good he is so it’s a positive that he’s back for sure.’
Real Madrid vs Chelsea Lampard on leaders and character
Lampard was asked whether Chelsea’s troubles this season have been in part down to a lack of experienced leaders within the squad or a lack of character in the team, but especially refuted the second suggestion.
‘I think you can only become a leader in action, there’s no point in calling someone a leader until they’ve shown why and done it on the pitch. We have a lot of players who have a lot of titles, so we can’t completely call ourselves young, because if you go through the squad I can see a lot of titles.
‘Also in terms of natural leaders, I think modern leaders have changed in the game in the dressing room. I don’t think we can look 10 or 15 years back and try to replicate what the leaders in a squad were then. For sure Chelsea brought in some younger players over the course of this season, we had to give them a chance at developing into the leaders we want them to be. Enzo is becoming a leader, but he’s 22 years of age, I think it’s quite difficult for us to talk about that, he’ll have to find his way.
‘Games like tomorrow are a great chance to perform and show the personality that makes you a proper leader.
‘It’s normal in a season when a club like us falls below the levels we want the character gets questioned. It’s one of the first things probably to get questioned in times of defeat. The only thing the players can do is prove it on the pitch where people can see it.
‘There’s a lot of work that we do behind the scenes on the training and around the dressing room talking to the players. My job is to convey to them the need to train at a certain level, to have a mentality at a certain level, individually and as a group, and the rest is they have to show it on the pitch.
‘I’m absolutely not questioning the fact they have a lot of character in the group because I’ve seen the dressing room and I understand football and there is character. But sometimes players can take a hit on confidence and that can look like a lack of character.’
Real Madrid vs Chelsea injury list
Carney Chukwuemeka is missing with the injury that has kept him out of action in our last two matches, while Armando Broja remains out of action as he continues his rehabilitation from a serious injury suffered last year.
Real Madrid are expected to be without left-back Ferland Mendy, who hasn’t featured since the middle of last month due to a calf injury, while there are doubts over David Alaba’s availability because of a muscle issue.
Real Madrid vs Chelsea suspension
There are no players suspended for this game on either team.
Kepa Arrizabalaga, Enzo Fernandez, Conor Gallagher, Reece James, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mykhailo Mudryk and Thiago Silva are all one booking away from suspension, meaning they will miss the second leg if they receive a yellow card in Madrid.
In the Champions League, three yellow cards, as well as following any subsequent odd-numbered caution (fifth, seventh, ninth, etc) will result in a one-match-suspension in the competition. All yellow cards expire on completion of the quarter-finals and are not carried forward to the semi-finals.
Champions League booking list
Enzo 4 (already served a suspension with Benfica), Mount 3 (already served suspension against Dortmund), Gallagher 2, James 2, Kepa 2, Koulibaly 2, Mudryk 2, Thiago Silva 2, Chilwell 1, Cucurella 1, Kovacic 1, Sterling 1, Ziyech 1
Real Madrid vs Chelsea referee and VAR
Referee: Francois Letexier (France)
VAR: Tomasz Kwiatkowski (Poland)
This will be Francois Letexier’s second Chelsea match in this season’s Champions League, having also overseen the 2-1 home win over Dinamo Zagreb in the group stage.
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