Christian Pulisic is approaching a return to action for Chelsea, but Frank Lampard is careful to “overcook” the winger and leave him vulnerable.
The United States’ international Pulisic struggled with muscle problems in its first campaign at Stamford Bridge and missed two months at the start of the year with a kidnapping tear.
The 22-year-old was impressive on his return after lockdown and contributed five goals and two assists in all competitions.
Pulisic is not yet in this election period after going into 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 is not ready for the team, nor is Hakim Ziyech, but they are 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 combat over the next week or two.”
Lampard is particularly interested in biting his time with Pulisic and aims to avoid further injury cuts when he eventually returns to action.
“There’s always a concern about a player’s suitability when the story says there have been some injuries. Last season we had them with Christian, I was asked many times about him when he did and did not play,” Lampard said.
“When you look at a player with his latest record, of course you try to find the right balance between getting the best out of him, as we saw in big periods last year, and making sure you don’t overcook him and leave him alone. susceptible to injury, especially with a player with his explosive pace and balance.It’s a fine line.
“We are working on it, and Christian is also very open to it. He wants to play, he’s so hungry to play and he’s almost in shape now, but it’s definitely something we have to deal 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 problem because it’s not, but we want to get so many minutes of Christian – it really great Christian that we saw a lot of last season – on the field. “
New signings Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell played their first Chelsea appearance in the 6-0 EFL Cup victory over Barnsley on Wednesday.
While Lampard confirmed the pair could start in the Hawthorns, he is again wary of asking for too much too soon from players still working toward peak fitness.
“I think they’re in shape enough to start, but I’ll also have to take into account the fact that we’re playing another game with a pretty tight turnaround on Tuesday, then another on Sunday, and so on. the international players might go and play three games for their country so I manage it, ”he said.
“After being through that game the other day as they did, I think especially Thiago started that game and had 60 minutes in the bank, so it was good to see.
“With Ben, I might want to be a little more careful just to make sure his injury has been a little challenging, so I’ll call them. But they’s in a good place at the moment.”