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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has taken his best squad for the trip to Spain as Valencia play host to Chelsea at the Mestalla Stadium on Wednesday night.
The likes of Ross Barkley, Antonio Rudiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi were dropped having not yet reached full fitness, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains a long-term absentee. Meanwhile, Marcos Alonso didn’t also make the squad and wasn’t also part of the Chelsea squad that travelled to Manchester during the weekend.
Goalkeepers: Kepa, Caballero, Cumming
Defenders: Christensen, Zouma, James, Azpilicueta, Tomori, Emerson
Midfielders: Jorginho, Kante, Kovacic, Mount
Forwards: Abraham, Willian, Pedro, Giroud, Pulisic, Batshuayi
A lot could be decided on Wednesday night as three clubs are tied at the top with seven points and all having equal chances of qualifying. But Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has tried to take off the pressure from his players by insisting that it’s not a must-not-lose game.
“It’s a must-not-lose game,” said Lampard, who knows his team will advance with a win and still have qualification in their hands if it’s a draw.
“We lost ground in the first game against Valencia, we have made up a lot of that ground, but I always thought it would be a tight group. It’s meant we have had to go to two difficult stadiums against two difficult teams and win.
“It doesn’t mean we’re out if we lose, but it puts us in a very difficult position. What we have done is bring that kind of knockout football slightly earlier in the competition. That’s no big problem. The reality is at this level you will come to this conundrum at some point where it will be like this.
“Work remains to be done and another challenge is in front of us.”