Chelsea hit by injury setback for Lampard

January 22, 2008

Avram Grant has been dealt a major blow ahead of Chelsea's Carling Cup semi-final against Everton tomorrow after England midfielder Frank Lampard suffered a setback to his thigh problem in training.

Lampard was hopeful of returning for the second leg at Goodison Park but the Chelsea coach confirmed the midfielder had aggravated his thigh muscle again and could face a further two weeks on the sidelines.

However, winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, who was expected to miss out because of an ankle injury sustained against Birmingham at the weekend, could be in the squad.

Grant said: 'All I can say about his injury is that he is not available for the moment but we hope he will be soon as possible. It is a little bit more complicated than we thought.

'But I think he will be back soon. He has torn his thigh muscle for a second time and I think it could be between days or two weeks from now.'

Wright-Phillips was in light training today and although Grant would not speculate on whether the England winger was fit enough to play any part in tomorrow's clash on Merseyside, he appeared to be quietly confident.

Grant added: 'The good thing with these players is they like to play and even when they are not fit and 100%, they are doing everything to play.

'Not all the players have been 100% fit for the last few games but the squad is very short. Everybody, including Shaun, is doing everything they can to play, but it is good news he is out there.'

Chelsea take a one goal advantage to Everton from the opening leg at Stamford Bridge, where they won 2-1, but Grant dismissed any suggestions he will order his side to sit back and defend their lead

He said: 'I don't believe in that. If you go to only defend then you can make a mistake and lose the game because of it. It is not our style of game over the last three months. I don't think you can play totally different for just one game. It is not the nature of the team.

'We will not change our system and our style of play will be the same we play at home. I believe Everton feel more comfortable to play at home but for us it is the same. The atmosphere at Liverpool and Goodison Park is very good. I like it. The supporters get behind their team. It is a great atmosphere.

'The Carling Cup is not my main target but it is a good competition. If you get into the semi-final of any competition then you want to qualify and any game we have played in the Carling Cup we have taken seriously.

Chelsea will have new signing Nicolas Anelka available for the second leg.

Grant added: 'Anelka is available. I think Everton know Anelka very well but he is a good player for us. For the moment he is the only striker we have in the squad and we will use him. Hopefully he will be good for us tomorrow.'