Christian Pulisic is set to miss the start of next season after Chelsea boss Frank Lampard estimated a hamstring injury will keep the United States star sidelined for six weeks.
Pulisic sustained the problem during the FA Cup final at Wembley, where he opened the scoring before the Blues subsided to a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in his absence.
Up next for Lampard’s men are Bayern Munich in the Champions League, with the Bundesliga champions holding a 3-0 advantage going into Saturday’s last-16 second leg.
While Pulisic heads an injury list which also includes captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and N’Golo Kante are back in the travelling party to bolster Lampard’s midfield options.
“With Christian, we’re looking at a six-week injury. With Azpilicueta not quite so much, hopefully a three-week injury,” he said.
“Willian’s injury is improving but he’s not right for this game. Pedro is moving on as you know, but he had surgery earlier in the week and I believe it’s a six-week injury.”
“With Pulisic, it will be touch and go for the start of the season. We have to treat it [the injury] right.
“In the big scheme of things, when Christian reflects on his first season here he should be very happy.
“We’ll get him fit and we’ll get him ready. If he misses the start of the season, the first one or two games, we’ll then have a fit and firing Christian like he was for the restart.”
Departure time. Next stop, Munich! pic.twitter.com/ZkB3OUJkwF
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) August 7, 2020
Life without both of his two more long-serving wingers looks increasingly likely for Lampard, with Willian extensively linked with a move across London to Arsenal.
“I read a headline earlier that said ‘disappointment’. There’s no disappointment in this situation, from any party,” Lampard said, before repeating his glowing assessment of the Brazil international.
“I haven’t got an answer for you [on his future]. He’s injured and was injured for the cup final. He would have given everything to play in these games.
“I know Willian well. He’s carried this injury a little bit. As a club we’ve done everything we can and mine and his relationship is really close.
“I’d have no disappointment if he moved on. He’s a fantastic player and a fantastic man.
“When I came in this year and we had a lot of experience in terms of transitional elements with the whole group, Willian was one you looked at and relied on.
“He has his own decisions to make and we as a club will always want to look forward. Eden Hazard left last year, the club continues to move forward. That remains the same whatever player leaves the club.”
One of the finest nights of Lampard’s decorated playing career came in Munich, when Chelsea overturned the odds to defeat Bayern on penalties and lift their maiden Champions League trophy.
Nevertheless, he would rather his players write their own history rather than dwell upon his former deeds.
“I won’t use that for this game. I think if I tried to use short stories from my career, the players would be very bored of me,” he chuckled.
“I will speak to the players and make them aware of the opportunity they have here to show that they want to turn this game around. They believe they can.
“It’s been a long season, successful in many ways, now we have a chance in a one-off game to do something special
“All I want to see is an attitude from the players that will attempt to do something special. I know it will be difficult.”
Published 08 Aug 2020, 00:36 IST