Chelsea players Reece James and Kurt Zouma were absent from the club’s matchday squad for their 1-1 draw with Aston Villa on Monday evening.
Frank Lampard made as six changes to his team with over half of the players that tasted defeat to Arsenal last Saturday missing out.
One of the changes he made was Olivier Giroud, who replaced Tammy Abraham in the starting lineup, and the Frenchman scored Chelsea’s opening goal.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Lampard confirmed that James wasn’t in the squad as he has a hamstring issue, but said he probably would’ve been replaced by Azpilicueta anyway.
‘Reece James has got a small hamstring issue, not saying that’s why Azpi played, I probably would’ve played him anyway,’ Lampard said.
‘Thiago Silva I think at his age I had to consider the games. Kurt Zouma’s played a lot of games himself. ‘Oli and Tammy to play a game each made sense to me because they both give a similar output, they’re both playing well.
‘The changes were to try and keep a better balance in the team but to try and freshen it up and off the back of not a great performance against Arsenal that kind of made my decision more as well.
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‘I’m not displeased with anything tonight other than we conceded that goal and we didn’t score another goal which would’ve given us some comfort. But I was pleased with the players that came in. I was pleased with the attitude.’
Lampard also admitted that Hakim Ziyech could return from a hamstring injury in time to be involved in Sunday’s huge clash against Manchester City, should the game go ahead.
‘There’s a possibility he could be fit for Manchester City if it goes ahead on Sunday,’ Lampard added. ‘He’s certainly progressing to the point where he’s very close to fitness.’