Ashley Cole: Chelsea Are Missing Two Key Players

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Frank Lampard started the new season with a number of key players missing from the squad. The likes of Antonio Rudiger, Willian, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi and buzzing youngster Reece James all missed pre-season football.

Kante has however made a return to the team, while Willian featured in the second-half against Leicester City, but looked very rusty. Rudiger is yet to play a game this season as he only made a return from injury and isn’t match fit. However, he featured in the U23 team’s victory over Liverpool.

Former Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole has defended Frank Lampard and believes the team will come stronger when the injured players return to form and fitness.

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On Lampard being without some of Chelsea’s top players, Cole told Sky Sports: “Rudiger, Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] will add to this, we’re talking about not having enough goalscorers… maybe he [Loftus-Cheek] can give something different.

“So, yes, they are missing players. Willian has obviously been away. He looked a little bit rusty today.

“Frank needs all these players sharp now. Yes, it’s only two games in but he’s already getting judged.

“So he’s going to have to be motivating these guys in a different way and say: “Hey, you better hurry up and start to get fit because I need you’.”

Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness has said Frank Lampard has the most difficult managerial job at Chelsea since Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003.

Explaining why Lampard’s job is the most difficult, Souness told Sky Sports: “I think this is the most difficult job for a Chelsea manager since Roman Abramovich took over the club. The owner appears to have lost interest through circumstances not of his own making, but that’s a factor I think.

“The transfer ban is also a major issue and losing arguably one of the best players in the world [Eden Hazard], or certainly the best player in the Premier League over the last five or six years, it’s not easy.

“He needs time and you can’t be judging Frank Lampard on what you see now – this is what he’s inherited. There’s not a lot wrong with them, just people being slightly different at vital times and scoring more goals.

“When this team are on the front foot, they’re fabulous to watch. But when the game goes the other way, there are not a lot of people who can sense that danger to say ‘let’s be difficult to play against’. We’ve seen it twice now in succession – at Old Trafford and today.”

About the Author

Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.