Gilmour set to return with Lampard adamant Sevilla clash is no dead rubber

By Sports Desk December 01, 2020

Frank Lampard says Billy Gilmour is looking "spot on" and poised to get his first minutes of the season against Sevilla in the Champions League, a game which he insists has high stakes.

Chelsea and Sevilla are already through to the last 16 with 10 points from their first four games ahead of Wednesday's match in Spain, which will determine top spot in Group E.

But Lampard is not yet satisfied, with first place his target even if he makes a few changes to his team amid a busy fixture schedule.

Victory would give Chelsea four straight Champions League wins and Lampard was in the Blues team the last time they did that in 2012, going on to win that year's competition.

"Some people are knocking on the door and deserve opportunities, but even though we have qualified we want to win the group," said Lampard.

"We are fully fit and ready to go. We are not taking it lightly, we want to win the group so I am certainly not expecting a drop in level.

"It certainly isn’t a dead rubber. We want to win the group for different reasons. Generally winning the group is the beneficial pathway, though that isn't clear all the time. 

"My feelings in football are, if you are going well and try and flick the switch off and then flick it back on again, it doesn't work that way."

Midfielder Gilmour is in contention to make his first appearance of the season after a nasty knee injury kept him out since early July.

Chelsea boss Lampard also wants to see a response from winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, who was left out of the squad for Sunday's Premier League 0-0 draw with Tottenham.

Lampard said of 19-year-old Gilmour: "He is looking spot on and will come in to compete with the other players in that midfield area.

"He is fit now and in the squad. It would be nice if he could get some minutes in the remaining two Champions League group games. Minutes are hard to get in COVID times.

"I hopefully see him coming back at the level he was at before he got injured. He made a great impact and there will be so much more to come from him at this club because of the talent he has."

On the decision to omit Hudson-Odoi for the Spurs game, Lampard said: "It was difficult. I have been really pleased with his training lately and his attitude is bang on at the moment - that was reflected with scoring and playing well against Rennes.

"I have tough decisions when we have a fully fit squad to leave players that work hard - and who are desperate to play for the club - out.

"I did speak to him personally because I wanted him to understand where he is at. It's a progression and he is getting better for me. He is back in contention and I want to see more of the same." 

Sevilla have not topped a Champions League group since 2009, while Chelsea last did so in the 2015-16 campaign.

The two teams drew 0-0 at Stamford Bridge in October, with Sevilla now unbeaten in their last seven meetings with English sides in major European competitions.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have only won one of their last 10 games against Spanish opponents in the Champions League.

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