Chelsea boss Frank Lampard intends to stick with his favoured 4-3-3 formation against Wolves despite potentially being without three wingers.

Lampard has used that system throughout the campaign and the Blues were unbeaten in 14 games prior to Saturday's 1-0 Premier League loss at Everton.

Chelsea were without Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic at Goodison Park, so Timo Werner and Kai Havertz started out wide and had little impact on the game.

Ziyech and Hudson-Odoi will play no part in Wednesday's trip to Wolves, while Pulisic is included in the squad but not over a hamstring issue, though Lampard will not change his formation.

"That is not something we will do in the short term, no. We've been playing really well," he said at Monday's pre-match news conference. 

"Hakim has certainly been very pivotal and Callum when he's been playing has done well and all of a sudden we are very short on wingers. But we have capabilities to still play. 

"It wasn't the formation that we didn't get right at the weekend, it was the way we executed it, which we have players that can definitely comfortably do that. So we just need to improve on the weekend."

Asked if Pulisic has a chance of playing, Lampard said: "He trained on the day we played against Everton and he felt better so he is in the squad for tomorrow. 

"It is yet to be decided whether he starts or not but it is positive news from where it was at the weekend."

Chelsea had 72 per cent of the ball against Everton but failed to register a shot on target in the second half, their last effort coming from defender Kurt Zouma after 28 minutes.

Lampard conceded after the game his side did not have the answers to break down their opponents, not helped by the absence of Ziyech.

Chelsea have won four and drawn one of the five league games Ziyech has started this season for a win rate of 80 per cent, compared to 28.6 per cent - two wins, three draws, two losses - in the seven games he has not started.

But Lampard insisted he has other players in his squad capable of stepping up to fill the void of the Morocco international, who is expected to return from a thigh injury in the next fortnight.

"The Premier League is unforgiving," he said. "We saw that with different results over the weekend and we see it pretty much every weekend and matchday. 

"We weren't at our top level on Saturday and we got beaten. That's it. We've been on a long unbeaten run, playing some really good football as well as winning games. 

"We dropped our level for a game. That's absolutely on us to pick it up again straight away."

He added: "What we have to come to terms with, it felt like Everton played very similar to how Tottenham played against us a couple of weeks ago and if people are watching us of course they will to stop us from doing what we've been doing well. 

"It's on us to find other ways. We didn't move the ball quickly enough as a team to hit the sides to maybe turn them around.

"So I think we just need to understand that when teams make it difficult for us, we have to have ways to get round that. Our level dropped.

"If we'd been at our top level we would have found a way to get round that. I certainly accept this group of players going so long unbeaten that there is one game that feels like that. 

"And we can't really make any excuse of not having the wingers. It is unfortunate in the short term. I think we have players capable of playing in those areas so I don't want to hang on that one. Hopefully the wingers are all back soon anyway."

Chelsea were paired with Atletico Madrid in Monday's Champions League last-16 draw and Lampard acknowledged his side have a huge task on their hands if they are to progress.

"Most people will say it's the toughest draw we could have had when you go off current form, how they are doing in LaLiga, European experience and the quality of the team and players

"On the other hand, all draws are difficult in the Champions League. We have to have belief in ourselves when that game comes around. You have to beat these teams if you're going to win the Champions League. It is what it is.

"I watched them knock Liverpool out last year. They are obviously a great team with experience and quality in the squad. Most people would say that they were one of the toughest we could have drawn on paper. We have to turn up and do our job."

Frank Lampard said Chelsea fans can dream of winning the Premier League title, though he warned the Blues must focus on improving after moving top of the table.

Chelsea climbed to the top of the summit ahead of Sunday's north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal, and Liverpool's clash with Wolves after overcoming Leeds United 3-1 on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic scored for Chelsea, who moved a point clear of rivals Tottenham and defending champions Liverpool, albeit temporarily.

Chelsea are 13 games unbeaten across all competitions and nine in the Premier League amid a growing sense of belief at Stamford Bridge, where a limited number of fans were allowed to attend the match in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The club have not won the Premier League since former boss Antonio Conte delivered the trophy in 2016-17.

Speaking during his post-match news conference, Chelsea head coach Lampard – whose Blues finished the day top of the Premier League table for the first time since 2018 – told reporters: "There's certainly nothing wrong with the fans thinking that [winning title]. Great to have them back, their input was huge, the noise they made was huge.

"You can see how excited they are at the end that we are top of the league. My job and our job is to know that it's a long season and the next question is how consistent can we be with this form, how much we can improve, because I believe there is a lot more we can do and there will be a lot of challenges ahead. Enjoy the evening.

"I will have that small glass of wine, maybe a large one, but at the same time we need to make sure we stay grounded. But there were a lot of good things. To play against Leeds in the form they are in and the type of team they are and be that dominant in terms of chances was a real great performance from us."

Giroud continued his red-hot form after being named in the XI as he became the first Chelsea player to score in six consecutive Premier League starts since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in October 2001.

Aged 34 years and 66 days, Giroud – who netted four goals in Chelsea's Champions League rout of Sevilla – is also the oldest player to ever score in six consecutive Premier League starts.

"I think his performance was great. Off the back of the Sevilla performance, the reference he is for us as a front man as and when balls come into an area he has the ability to be cool and clinical with his finishing," said Lampard, who also revealed Hakim Ziyech is battling a hamstring injury.

"He might have had two or three more today. The personality that he is in the team. I have said it before the game, people will always question me about who I play up front because I have options. When Oli is there I know I can rely on him. Today he was huge."

Pulisic was also on target in stoppage time against visiting Leeds – the United States star becoming the 13th different player to score for Chelsea in the Premier League this season. The Blues have had at least four more than any other side in the competition in 2020-21.

Lampard added: "Really pleased today. It's been a difficult period with the injury for him and he gets frustrated in a good way because he wants to play. Having played 60 plus minutes against Sevilla I knew this game would have needed a huge amount of energy for the players and thought it was wise to start him on the bench.

"My plan was probably to give him 30 minutes. But to play the period of the game he played, with the intensity of the game and to get his goal. He has an incredible gift, it sounds simple, but arriving in the six-yard box as a wide man, because that is where the goals are. So I was delighted that he got his goal and he is only going to get stronger now."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has urged his players not to "get caught up in the chat" after they went top of the Premier League table.

The Blues claimed a 3-1 win over Leeds United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic to move, temporarily at least, to the Premier League’s summit.

Alongside second-placed Tottenham, who face Arsenal on Sunday, Chelsea are on the joint-longest unbeaten run in the division after their victory at Stamford Bridge made it nine games without defeat.

They are the league's top scorers with 25 goals and have also kept five clean sheets – than any other top-flight team.

Lampard, however, does not want his squad to get carried away despite the impressive numbers which appear to suggest they could be title challengers.

"It's early December and there's a long way to go. But we are progressing," he told Sky Sports.

"Whether it's this season we get to the heights we want, I don't know. But we are moving in the right direction.

"When you bring in new players, have young players, you're trying to integrate them. I'm really pleased. It's work on the training ground and staff behind the scenes.

"At our level, at Chelsea, people will always question us. Our job is to not get caught up in the chat.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground. There's a long, long way to go. At the minute we're in a patch."

Chelsea's variety of goalscoring options is reflected by the fact 13 of their players have now found the net this season – four more than any other club.

Among them is Zouma, whose powerful header midway through the second half put Chelsea ahead on Saturday after Giroud cancelled out Patrick Bamford's early opener.

France defender Zouma has four goals in 10 Premier League games this season, as many as he managed in his first 141 games in the competition, while Pulisic became the latest Chelsea player to find the net when he slid in to divert Timo Werner's cross home late on.

Lampard acknowledged the importance he has placed on improving their attacking threat in different areas, and especially from dead-ball situations.

He added: "We have worked on his finishing from set-pieces, but there's something about the group at the moment. They're really knuckling down and Kurt is full of confidence.

"He thinks he will score. Set-pieces are huge, if you want to do anything in the Premier League you have to be good at set pieces."

Frank Lampard insists Christian Pulisic can be hugely influential for Chelsea once the club solve the hamstring problem that hangs over the American winger.

The United States international missed the start of the season but was looking set for a run in the Chelsea side until he suffered a twinge in the warm-up before the October 31 match at Burnley.

A hamstring injury ended Pulisic's involvement in August's FA Cup final against Arsenal, after he scored the game's opening goal, and he continues to be troubled in that area.

The £58million signing from Borussia Dortmund has been ruled out of Saturday's trip to Newcastle United, three weeks after his Turf Moor setback was described by Lampard as "very minor", and it remains to be seen when he will be next available for selection.

There is no doubt the situation is frustrating to all concerned at Chelsea, with the club's medical staff working to help Pulisic back to full strength.

"With Christian, we're still searching," said Lampard. "He's in a position at the moment where he's had a problematic injury.

"Christian had a history before coming to us of some muscular injuries and he's had them again.

"Everything about Christian and how he is around the training ground, and how he prepares and how much he wants to play, is perfect.

"We need to try to find the right balance between playing and resting and maintenance during the week to try to get the best out of him.

"He's a young player still. It's not abnormal and we will find a solution. I don't want to make more of it than it is, because we want as many games out of Christian as we can possibly get because of his ability.

"But at the minute he's injured so in the short term it's a work in progress.

"But we have a great medical team here and we're very much joined up in the idea of getting the best of Christian, to get him fit as much as we can."

HOW IMPORTANT HAS PULISIC BEEN SO FAR?

Given the stop-start nature of his Chelsea career, it could be some time before we get the full picture of what the 22-year-old will bring to the Blues.

He has made just three Premier League appearances in the 2020-21 campaign, while last season's figures illuminated his threat but were inconclusive in a wider sense.

Although Pulisic scored nine goals in 25 league outings, of which just 19 were starts, Chelsea's results were stable whether he was in Lampard's XI or not.

Of those 19 games that he started, Chelsea won 10, drew three and lost six, and their record was identical for the 19 games that Pulisic either sat out or appeared as a substitute.

With him in the starting team, Chelsea scored 32 times and conceded 26, while without him from the first whistle they netted 37 goals and shipped 28.

Pulisic has great attributes, with his pace, dribbling and eye for a strike, but Chelsea are the Premier League's top scorers with 20 goals this term and he has not contributed to that tally, or had an assist.

He did score in the Champions League win at Krasnodar, after coming off the bench, but injury struck three days later.

Lampard naturally wants the USA star back in his matchday ranks, but Chelsea have found a way to flourish without him.

WAS IT ALWAYS THIS WAY WITH PULISIC?

As Lampard says, Pulisic is no stranger to an injury, but Chelsea plainly bought a class act. Opta data tells us that Dortmund were more prolific with Pulisic than without him in 2018-19, his final year at the club.

When he started in the Bundesliga - albeit just nine times in that season - they averaged 3.0 goals per game compared to 2.2 without him in the line-up, while their goals against figure held steady at 1.3 whether he was selected from the off or not.

In the games where Pulisic started, the numbers of shots and crosses per game, as well as passing accuracy in the opposition half, all climbed.

In the 20 games in which he played a part, Dortmund won 14, drew four and lost twice for a points-per-game average of 2.3, while that dipped to 2.1 when he was absent.

Christian Pulisic has returned to Chelsea after withdrawing from the United States squad for their upcoming friendlies against Wales and Panama.

The 22-year-old linked up with his national side despite not playing for Chelsea since October 28 because of a hamstring injury sustained ahead of the Premier League clash with Burnley.

However, Pulisic has been deemed unfit to play against Wales in Swansea on Thursday and Panama in Austria next Monday, however, and has now dropped out of the squad.

Speaking at a pre-match news conference on Wednesday, United States head coach Gregg Berhalter said: "Christian is a big part of our group. 

"He has been working through an injury, but he really says a lot that he wanted to come into camp, be around the guys and continue to be a leader with this team."  

Pulisic had featured five times for Chelsea in all competitions this term before suffering his latest injury setback and scored in his most recent match, a 4-0 Champions League win over Krasnodar.

He has yet to get off the mark in terms in three Premier League outings this term and has created only once chance from open play.

Asked if Pulisic will be available for Chelsea's trip to Newcastle United on November 21, Berhalter said: "It is hard to speculate."

USA have triumphed in their last three games by an aggregate score of 9-1 but last won a match against one of England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland in May 2012, beating the latter 5-1.

Christian Pulisic will not return for Chelsea until after the international break as he continues to struggle with a hamstring problem.

Frank Lampard revealed in midweek that a scan had only shown "very minor" damage for the United States international, who sustained the injury in the warm-up ahead of last weekend's 3-0 win over Burnley.

The Chelsea boss was initially positive about Pulisic's recovery but confirmed on Friday he had stopped training this week due to ongoing discomfort.

Pulisic will consequently be unavailable for Saturday's meeting with Sheffield United in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge, and his absence means Chelsea will be without one of their most potent attacking weapons.

Since football returned in June, Pulisic has attempted more shots (28) and completed more dribbles (19) than any other Chelsea player in the top flight. He has also been involved in a team-high six goals (four scored, two assisted) in the competition, level with Olivier Giroud and Willian.

"Pulisic is not fit to play. He's still suffering with his hamstring. He's not [training] at the moment," said Lampard.

"To be clear, he trained at a low level in midweek when I made those quotes and he wasn't comfortable, so we have to keep looking for the right solution."

Lampard confirmed that Kepa Arrizabalaga will be in the squad this weekend as he continues to recover from a shoulder problem.

"He [Kepa] has recovered, he's still getting a slight bit of pain but he's in the squad for tomorrow," said the Blues boss.

Timo Werner replaced Pulisic in the starting line-up for the Burnley game and the Germany international has played more minutes for Chelsea this season than any other player.

Lampard hopes to be able to grant Werner – who has been involved in four goals in his past three Premier League games – a rest soon and would not clarify if that will come against the Blades.

"I'm not going to give the team away, but I think it was clear with the Burnley game I was planning on giving him a rest. It was more because I had options and the journey to Russia and back," said Lampard.

"Timo's played a lot of games, but at the beginning there's always a balance in my job of players that are playing well and enjoying it, finding their way in the team and making relationships and feeling the league if they're new to the league, and I think that's been a big deal for Timo.

"I've been happy with that point. As we look forward, I will try to manage those minutes to keep him as fresh as I can, but at the minute he's going well, so we'll see."

Frank Lampard was relieved to learn a hamstring injury to Christian Pulisic was "very minor", with the Chelsea winger having previously been expected to spend weeks on the sidelines. 

Pulisic suffered the injury during the warm-up ahead of the Blues' 3-0 Premier League win at Burnley on Saturday. 

It will keep him out of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Rennes too, but Lampard was left understandably pleased an important player is not facing a long time out of action. 

"Christian had a scan yesterday which showed a very minor injury to his hamstring," Lampard said in a pre-match media conference.  

"He won't be fit for tomorrow, but we will see after that. 

"It's obviously a relief for it to be on the small side. Christian made the right decision not to play in a game that could have made it worse. He's an important player for us. 

"Some players who play on the edge and have speed could be more susceptible. We are looking at ways to manage Christian. 

"We are all working in the same direction to try get him to be match fit as regularly as possible. We know the talent." 

The United States international did not make his first appearance of the 2020-21 season until October because of a hamstring problem.

He scored in Chelsea's 4-0 win over Krasnodar last time out in the Champions League and has created two chances across five appearances in all competitions this season, though he has not been credited with an assist. 

Defender Thiago Silva did not feature against Krasnodar but has played a pivotal role for a Chelsea backline that has kept five clean sheets across the Premier League and Champions League. 

After the upcoming international break, Chelsea will play 12 games in the space of six weeks. 

That packed schedule means Chelsea will likely have to rotate regularly, but Lampard insists managing the centre-back's workload is a simple task because of the Brazil international's professionalism. 

"When you have an experienced player whose such a great professional like Thiago is, that honest conversation [about the workload] is very easy," he added.  

"I'll be very upfront and honest with him about what I think and what he thinks."

Christian Pulisic will have to undergo a scan to assess an injury sustained during the warm-up ahead of Chelsea's 3-0 win over Burnley, Frank Lampard has confirmed.

Timo Werner was drafted into the starting line-up after Pulisic, who scored a hat-trick in the corresponding fixture last season, tweaked his hamstring prior to kick-off on Saturday.

Chelsea were unfazed by the United States international's absence, with Hakim Ziyech netting the opener to become their first player since Diego Costa in 2014 to score in each of his first two starts in all competitions.

Kurt Zouma powered in his third Premier League goal of the season – already a career-best tally – before Ziyech teed up Werner to round off the scoring with 20 minutes remaining.

The injury to Pulisic, who came on as a second-half substitute in the 4-0 win over Krasnodar on Wednesday, was the only sour note for Chelsea, but though he was confident it would not mean a long spell on the sidelines, Lampard could not give any guarantees. 

"Christian had a small sensation in his hamstring. So, we had to pull him," Lampard told a news conference.

"He couldn't play the game and he felt that in part of the warm-up. We will have to scan it.

"He is frustrated as he got fit and we rested him in the week where he comes on and scores. He is so keen to do well for us but we have to scan him and see how it is, so I can’t give you a time on that."

Chelsea have now kept clean sheets in back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since October 2018 and Lampard is pleased to see his team developing positively.

"It was a very complete performance. It's a tough place to come here and play, they make it very difficult," Lampard added.

"You know you have to defend your box well, you have to be very strong with the first and second balls. I wanted that to be one focus and the other to be to keep developing the way we play on the ball.

"That is what really pleased me today. Some of the passing and the movement in the team was very good. It feels like a nice step forward.

"I keep talking about the work we need to do, we are nowhere near the end of the road with that, so the performance was a really solid win. Certainly we have had good momentum from this week.

"I'm not going to jump and up and down after a win like this, but it was a really positive day."

Burnley failed to register a single shot on target against the Blues but Sean Dyche was frustrated his team were not awarded a penalty when Edouard Mendy and Ashley Barnes collided in the fifth minute.

"I think we started well. We should have had a penalty, but we know our record with penalties – I don't know what penalties are or aren't any more. I'm not remotely saying that would win us the game, but it would have given us a chance," said Dyche.

The Clarets have been awarded five penalties in the Premier League since the start of the 2017-18 season, the fewest of any ever-present team in that time.

He continued: "We're getting punished for everything. That's how it is, things go against you or feel like they're going against you.

"It's a challenge. The feeling that winning brings, the confidence it brings, it adds to what you're trying to achieve. There has to be a bit of realism – playing against these sides, top six sides, they can punish you, and they punished us today.

"I don't panic in general, to be honest. I don't think panicking will change anything. I think structure, organisation and hard work, that may change things."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard insisted he never doubted the "incredible" talent of Christian Pulisic as he responded to claims by Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch.

Marsch last week suggested Lampard did not rate United States international Pulisic when he first arrived at Stamford Bridge due to his nationality.

Speaking to Extratime Radio, the American said: "I could see right away that Lampard's idea of Pulisic was shaped a lot by the fact that he was from America.

"When I spoke to him in pre-season a year ago, I was talking to him about having Pulisic and he was kind of like, 'Yes, he's got a lot to learn so we'll see how he does'."

Pulisic has made a big impact during Lampard's 15 months in charge, playing a direct part in 13 Premier League goals since the start of 2018-19.

Only Tammy Abraham (19) has managed more among Chelsea players still at the club, while his 2.75 dribbles completed per game is bettered only by Mateo Kovacic (3.19). 

And after getting off the mark with his first goal of the campaign in Wednesday's 4-0 win over Krasnodar, Lampard reiterated he has never questioned the winger's ability.

"I did read those comments. I was surprised that Jesse read my mind as well as he did!" Lampard said ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to Burnley.

"It was a game against Salzburg when Christian scored twice in pre-season. I said it was exciting to see how he'd develop with us but Jesse put it across a little differently. 

"Maybe Jesse knows the feeling of American managers coming into Europe. I played in America for 18 months and will never underestimate the desire those players have. 

"Christian has that and incredible talent so it was never in doubt for me. I understand the rigours of it. It's the toughest league in the world to play. 

"What Christian did was find his feet quickly and had a great breakthrough season. His performance was massively impressive. 

"He'll get better and better because he is a young player. I never doubted him. It's important for me to put that straight."

On the back of successive goalless draws, Chelsea found the perfect balance between attack and defence in their Champions League Group E win over Russian side Krasnodar.

Hakim Ziyech marked his full debut with a goal while fellow attackers Callum Hudson-Odoi, Pulisic and Timo Werner were also on target, the latter netting from the penalty spot.

Lampard has once again talked up the importance of making full use of his large squad with three more games to play over the next 10 days.

"Hakim was very good last night, so that was a big plus," he said. "The other teams, particularly those in Europe, are also finding the schedule heavy. We need options. 

"We're also searching for relationships as newer players are learning about each other and how we play. There will be rotation at times. We need everybody."

Thiago Silva did not make the trip to Russia but Lampard will bring the experienced defender back into his squad for the meeting with Burnley.

"He is fit. Taking him out of the squad for Krasnodar was a maintenance issue," he said. "It made sense to leave him out. 

"As a player towards the end of my career – and I'm not saying that's the case with him – it's about making sure we get the best out of him towards the end of the season.

"I spoke with him and he could have played if he had to but I had to put it in context of what is ahead of us."

Chelsea have won five of their six Premier League away games against Burnley, scoring at least twice in each victory. 

Frank Lampard has backed Hakim Ziyech to build on his first Chelsea goal after a "frustrating" start to his time at Stamford Bridge.

Ziyech picked up an injury in Chelsea's shortened pre-season campaign and had been restricted to just three substitute appearances since his move from Ajax.

However, he was fit enough to make his full debut in Wednesday's 4-0 Champions League win over Krasnodar and marked the occasion with his maiden strike.

The Morocco international fired home his side's third goal in the 79th minute - one of four attempts he managed on target, which is three more than any of his team-mates. 

"Hakim was fit today, the first time he's really been fit to start a game," Lampard said during his post-match news conference. 

"He has worked really hard to be fit and I was very keen to get his quality into the team. 

"We saw that for the whole period he was on the pitch. He brought a lot of quality and calmness and got a well-deserved goal."

Ziyech has been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 15 Champions League starts and Lampard is pleased he is finally getting to see the winger on the field.

"I thought his performance was very very good when you consider he hasn't started a match since March when the Dutch league finished," he said.

"So I have been very excited to get him on the pitch so it has been frustrating for me and for him that his injury hasn't allowed him to start.

"But what I have seen in training so far and what I knew we were signing as a player was a player with immense quality and personality to receive the ball, assist and find goals. 

"We saw a lot of glimpses of that today. We brought him in to do a job and maybe people have forgotten a bit because we signed him in January and he missed the start of the season. Tonight, he certainly showed he is here."

Callum Hudson-Odoi opened the scoring in Russia with his first goal in the Champions League, benefiting from goalkeeper Matvey Safonov's error.

The winger has featured only 22 times in the Premier League since the start of last season due to injuries, but no Chelsea player has more assists-per-game than his 0.53 in that time, while his 2.12 chances created is also the highest of any player at Stamford Bridge.

Asked about Hudson-Odoi's display, Lampard said: "The goal is clearly going to be good for his confidence. There were things I liked in his game today, like his desire to run in behind the defence. 

"Sometimes one v one, it didn't go his way but I'm very pleased that when you play in the Champions League and get your goal."

Hudson-Odoi's breakthrough strike came 23 minutes after Jorginho had hit the post from the penalty spot - the second time he has missed from 12 yards in his last four attempts.

Timo Werner showed Jorginho how it is done by tucking away a penalty of his own in the second half, opening the floodgates for Chelsea as Ziyech and Christian Pulisic wrapped up the win with a late flurry.

Lampard insisted he has no issues with Jorginho's penalty-taking technique but hinted he is not against naming Werner as the Blues' regular taker, as he was at RB Leipzig.

"Jorginho has had an incredibly successful rate of scoring penalties in his career, particularly at Chelsea," he said.

"My feeling is that when you take as many penalties as he does there can be periods when you can miss one or two. I've experienced that as a player.

"I've no problem at all with his style of taking them because of the success he has had and Timo Werner I know is very capable of taking penalties, as we saw. 

"We have other players that can so I'll talk with them afterwards to see how we move forward but we have good takers at the club."

Hakim Ziyech is willing to play wherever Chelsea boss Frank Lampard needs him after enduring a frustrating start to his career at Stamford Bridge.

The Moroccan playmaker has yet to start a game for the Blues since arriving from Ajax, though he has only just recovered from a knee injury suffered during a pre-season friendly.

With his move announced in February, the 27-year-old was the first signing of a busy transfer window for Lampard, who also added Timo Werner and Kai Havertz to bolster his attacking options.

Ziyech knows the competition for places will be fierce having been impressed by his fellow new additions, as well as "crazy" winger Christian Pulisic.

"I have two different options [over where to play], or maybe three. It depends on where the coach needs me," said Ziyech.

"For me, it doesn't matter where I'm playing. It's just the way that I love to play the game, it doesn't matter where I'm playing.

"Kai and Timo, they are two big talents and they already proved it in the past, what they did for their club before. Christian is also one of the biggest talents. They have enough quality.

"For Christian, he's already been here longer than us. If you see what he is capable of doing on the pitch, he's just a crazy winger.

"For me, it's really exciting to work with them. I can't wait to be on the pitch, fully fit, and just doing our things."

Ziyech has not started a game since March 7, with his Ajax career cut short when the the Eredivisie season was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, he made his Chelsea debut off the bench in the 3-3 Premier League draw with Southampton last Saturday, followed by a cameo appearance in the Champions League clash with Sevilla in midweek.

"The season stopped last year for me a bit early, so I didn't play for a while," Ziyech said ahead of Sunday's trip to Manchester United, which could see him up against former Ajax team-mate Donny van de Beek.

"Like I have said before, the injury came at an unlucky time. For me, it's just important to get the rhythm back and to build up everything again.

"I know it will take some time but, for me, it couldn't be sooner. As soon as possible, but it is what is it is right now.

"It's most important to build again and come in with 100 per cent fitness, and that's what we're working on right now."

Chelsea will be without Edouard Mendy against Southampton but head coach Frank Lampard is excited to have Hakim Ziyech available at last. 

Goalkeeper Mendy suffered a thigh injury on international duty with Senegal and will be unavailable for Saturday's game at Stamford Bridge. 

Lampard must now decide whether to start Kepa Arrizabalaga, who played in Spain's 0-0 friendly draw with Portugal, or veteran Willy Caballero. 

Thiago Silva will also miss out but there is better news in attack, with Christian Pulisic in line for his second league game of the season and Ziyech finally ready to be in the squad nearly three months after arriving from Ajax. 

"Mendy won't be fit for the match tomorrow," Lampard told reporters on Friday. "We hope the injury's not too long. 

"Thiago Silva, after his trip, he's not unfit but he's not ready to play the game because of the travelling and the game he played, so he won't be in the squad.  Ben Chilwell is in the squad, so he's got over some of the feeling which took him out of the England squad around the injury that he's had for a while.

"Christian Pulisic is in the squad and fit to play. Hakim Ziyech is in the squad, not fit to start but fit to participate some minutes, we hope. 

"He's worked so hard, he's been fantastic in terms of his professionalism to get fit and he looks really good in training. 

"It's match fitness. I've got a really open relationship with him to know where he's at and how I feel about it, so it's just game minutes we need now.

"But yes, of course, I'm excited to get him in and around it to bring what we brought him to the club for, which is to create chances for us, to be the talented player that we saw at Ajax and I look forward to seeing him play." 

Defender Antonio Rudiger is also vying for game time, having played all three of Germany's recent matches despite having not yet made an appearance for Chelsea this season. 

"Every player can play their way into the starting XI, the squad, that's in every player's hands," Lampard said. "That's how I try and work here: things I do are always for the best for the team, for the club, because we're trying to get results every week. 

"Players all know that and the beauty of the window now being shut is we can get to work, know what the squad is, everyone knows they can contribute, and we'll need them and rely on them because of the amount of games we play. 

"Toni's the same as every player on that one."

Christian Pulisic is nearing a return to action for Chelsea but Frank Lampard is wary of "overcooking" the winger and leaving him prone to injury. 

United States international Pulisic struggled with muscle issues in his first campaign at Stamford Bridge and missed two months at the start of the year with an abductor tear. 

The 22-year-old was impressive upon his return after lockdown, contributing five goals and two assists in all competitions. 

Pulisic is yet to feature this term after going off in the FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal with a hamstring injury in August, but Lampard said on Friday that a return is on the horizon. 

"No, Christian isn't ready for the squad, nor is Hakim Ziyech, but they're both training with us now, which is good news," he told the media ahead of Saturday's Premier League meeting with West Brom. 

"We hope to have them with us in proper match contention over the next week or two."

Lampard is keen to bide his time with Pulisic in particular, aiming to avoid any further injury setbacks when he eventually returns to action. 

"There's always a concern about a player's fitness when the history says there's been some injuries. Last season we did have them with Christian, I was questioned many times on him, when he did and didn't play," said Lampard. 

"Of course, when you look at a player with his recent record, you're trying to find the right balance of getting the best out of him, which we saw in big periods last year, and making sure you don't overcook him and leave him susceptible to injury, particularly with a player of his explosive pace and balance. It's a fine line. 

"We're working on that and Christian's also very open to that. He wants to play, he's so hungry to play and he's very nearly fit now, but it's certainly something we have to manage with him this season. 

"We've all seen the talent and it's something we want to get right. I'm not saying it's a fundamental, chronic issue because it's not, but we want to get as many minutes of Christian – the really great Christian that we saw lots of last season – on the pitch."

New signings Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell made their first Chelsea appearances in the 6-0 EFL Cup victory over Barnsley on Wednesday. 

While Lampard confirmed the pair could start at the Hawthorns, he is again wary of asking for too much too soon from players who are still working towards peak fitness. 

"I believe they are fit enough to start, but I do also have to take into consideration the fact that we play another game with a pretty tight turnaround on Tuesday, then another on Sunday, and then the international players will maybe go and play three games for their country, so I'm managing that one," he said. 

"Having come through that game the other day as they did, I think particularly Thiago did start that game and had 60 minutes in the bank, so that was good to see. 

"With Ben, I'll maybe be a little more cautious just to make sure, his injury's been a bit of a challenging one, so I'll make those calls. But they're in a good place at the moment."

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard hopes Timo Werner is fit to face Liverpool after suffering a dead leg, while Christian Pulisic has had a setback.

Werner won a penalty on his Chelsea debut as Lampard's side recorded a 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Monday.

While the forward played 90 minutes, Lampard confirmed Werner had suffered a dead leg, although he expects the Germany international to be ready to face Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

"Timo took the knock when he won the penalty," he told reporters.

"It's more of a dead leg we hope so I wouldn't think too much in terms of next week there.

"But I would like to think if it's a dead leg we've got a bit of time for him to get back and right and he obviously finished the game from having that earlyish kind of knock."

While Leandro Trossard equalised early in the second half for Brighton to cancel out Jorginho's penalty, Reece James' stunner and Kurt Zouma's deflected strike sealed three points for Chelsea.

Chelsea were without Pulisic for the trip after he suffered a hamstring injury in the FA Cup final loss to Arsenal on August 1.

Lampard confirmed the United States international had a setback as he pushed to get fit for the clash with Brighton.

"Christian was training with us last week, but he had a little bit of discomfort a couple of days ago where he was trying to train with us and being in contention for today, it would've been a big ask for today," he said.

"But he's had to take a few steps back so we'll have to see so that's one I don't have big news on at the minute. We'll see."

Hakim Ziyech's official Chelsea debut will have to wait for at least a couple of weeks after Frank Lampard confirmed the new signing has a knee injury.

Media reports began circulating on Wednesday suggesting Morocco international Ziyech was a doubt for Monday's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion for the Blues' Premier League opener.

Ziyech arrived from Ajax in pre-season after a £33.3million deal had been agreed last term, with the forward boosting his reputation in 2018-19 after a number of impressive performances en route to the Champions League semi-finals.

But Chelsea fans will have to wait a bit longer to see him in competitive action, as Lampard confirmed the reports he has sustained an injury.

Ziyech's fellow new signings Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell are also not yet ready for their debuts.

"Ziyech took an injury to his knee in the friendly against Brighton and he won't be fit," Lampard said in Thursday's pre-match news conference.

"We are working on him and hope it will only be a matter of weeks, a couple of weeks, we hope, but we'll have to wait and see on that.

"Chilwell is working towards fitness. He won't be fit for Brighton. He has developed and improved this week and going in the right direction, which is good news for us.

"Thiago Silva is in London but won't be training until the weekend, so I doubt very much that he's in contention for the Brighton game.

"Out of the new ones, that's where we are at. Billy Gilmour is a longer-term injury, but other than that we are in decent shape."

Regarding Cesar Azpilicueta and Christian Pulisic, who were both forced off in the FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal in August, Lampard added: "I missed them off earlier – yes, I am certainly very happy to have them both back.

"Yesterday [Wednesday] was their first day fully training with the team, so they're in contention for Monday.

"I have to be careful and I have a squad to pick from, but the way they're training and their attitude to come back, it looks like they are over their injuries. I just have to make sure I manage them both back in their own ways."

Page 1 of 4
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.