Premier league

Frank Lampard confident back-up strikers can fill Tammy Abraham void

Tammy Abraham has been ruled out of Chelsea’s league game against West Ham, with Frank Lampard calling on others to step up this weekend.

Frank Lampard is confident Chelsea’s back-up strikers can step up in the absence of the injured Tammy Abraham.

Abraham hobbled off in the first half of Wednesday’s 2-2 Champions League draw with Valencia after a collision left him clutching his left side, before he was then taken away on a stretcher.

The England international attempted to play down the extent of his injury immediately after the match, but it has been confirmed he will play no part in Saturday’s visit of West Ham.

Providing an update at his pre-match news conference on Friday, head coach Lampard said: “He’s got some pain, so won’t be involved tomorrow and then we’ll see by Monday.”

Abraham has scored 10 goals in 13 Premier League games this season, compared to a combined one goal in 12 appearances for Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud – although they only have one top-flight start between them.

However, Lampard is backing the duo to show what they can do while Abraham is sidelined.

“It’s a squad game over the course of the season,” he said. “The lads have been training well no matter how many minutes they’re getting.

“Every day is a work day so when opportunities come they’re ready, so I’ve got all confidence in them.”

Pushed on whether Batshuayi will start against out-of-form West Ham, Lampard added: “We’ll see.

“It’s not easy when you are not playing as many minutes as you want. I have seen a great work ethic and he has quality. It is great to see.”

Chelsea have conceded 32 goals in 21 matches this season, with Valencia the latest side to take advantage of the Blues’ slack defending in the midweek draw at the Mestalla.

Lampard has reiterated he has no concerns about his backline, however, especially with Antonio Rudiger closing in on a return to action.

“Antonio is getting closer. He is working very hard and it’s like a mini pre-season for him now,” Lampard said.

“I didn’t like our defending in the final 20 minutes against Valencia, but overall I’m not concerned about the defence. We have conceded more than we would have liked.

“In the Premier League you are going to concede goals. There is always room for improvement. We are okay, but we want more.”

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