Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has given his pre-match press conference ahead of the club’s Champions League group stage match on Wednesday against Krasnodar.
The Blues have travelled to Russia to face a relatively unknown threat in Krasnodar, who managed a 1-1 draw with Rennes in the opening group fixture.
With experienced centre-back Thiago Silva left out of the 22-man squad for the trip to Russia, it means there is a spot open in the backline for someone to get their chance.
Lampard has been discussing defender Antonio Rudiger ahead of the midweek fixture, but has he given a hint he could select him to start?
The Chelsea boss has been speaking about his positive relationship with the 27-year-old, as well as confirming that he’s in contention to play.
He’s not played a single first-team minute so far this season across all competitions, but Lampard’s positive comments in the build-up to Krasnodar may turn out being a good sign for him.
“I’ve had discussions with Antonio, and all the players, as many as I can. I’ve always had a positive relationship with him,” Lampard said, as quoted by Football.London.
“Everything I do I do for the club and selections and for the team, and every week with the squad we have sometimes you have to have players out of the squad. So that’s always big news for everybody. But we have a very positive relationship. He’s in the squad, so very much in contention to play.”
Rudiger has been frozen out of the picture at Stamford Bridge so far this season, but it looks like he could be given a second chance going off the manager’s comments and it wouldn’t be a huge shock to see him involved against Krasnodar.
The powerhouse centre-back may be a little rusty due to his lack of club football at Chelsea, but the German has still been playing for his country during recent international breaks.
Despite Silva being rested and absent from the squad, Lampard still has four centre-backs to choose from in Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori, as well as versatile captain Cesar Azpilicueta if he wants to use a back three.