Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has confirmed that Kai Havertz is back in the hunt for game time after testing negative for coronavirus.
Midfielder Havertz returned a positive test for Covid-19 shortly before the international break. As such, he missed the Champions League meeting with Rennes and the 4-1 win over Sheffield United.
However, he has now finished a period of self-isolation and is ready to return to the fold for the Blues.
Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Newcastle, Lampard also provided updates on Christian Pulisic and Brazil defender Thiago Silva. Pulisic has suffered from a hamstring issue in recent weeks.
“Pulisic is not fit for Newcastle but has stepped up his training,” the head coach told his pre-match press briefing (via football.london).
“Havertz is back, his isolation is over and he’s tested negative so he trained two days ago to get individually his fitness back.
“Silva has just landed, he probably won’t go to Newcastle because of the journey. [We’re] still waiting on some Covid testing.
“Unfortunately some are arriving back this afternoon, so with the 12.30pm kick off it brings a lot of challenges.”
Lampard is not the first Premier League manager to criticise the Premier League for making his side play at 12.30pm on Saturday.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer slammed authorities for setting his side up “to fail” earlier this month.
“No it’s not the best,” Lampard said of the timing of his players’ return to action. “When you look at the scheduling it is a common sense factor.
“That 12.30pm slot, how often does it need to be there? It’s absolutely not the optimum way to have players preparing for a Premier League game.
“You want the best of the brand. I want us to play to our best but it is very difficult circumstances.”
Lampard picks up on defender stat
Lampard was also pressed for his response to a recent statistic on centre-back Kurt Zouma. The CIES Football Observatory has found that the Frenchman has the best aerial defensive record of any defender in the world this season.
“I saw that stat, I am not surprised, he will be very important for us,” Lampard said.
“It is something we looked at, we could have been better at times last season and now this is the standard we need to keep. Kurt has been a big part of that.”