Frank Lampard has ruled out a January exit from Chelsea for Ross Barkley, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is taking positive steps in his return to fitness.

Barkley was a regular for Maurizio Sarri last season but has made just six Premier League starts under Lampard, though a foot injury suffered in October ruled him out for almost two months.

A reunion with David Moyes, who handed him his top-flight debut at Everton in 2011, at West Ham had been touted, but the Blues boss was adamant the England international will not be leaving.

"There's no talk here of Ross Barkley going anywhere. He's our player. I've got a lot of faith in Ross. That's news I heard like everyone else this week," said Lampard.

Asked about other potential departures, Lampard said there has been no movement on a deal for Olivier Giroud, who is reportedly a target for Newcastle United – Chelsea's opponents on Saturday – Aston Villa and Inter, while Willian will be staying put and could extend his contract beyond this season.

"Olivier Giroud there may be something that can happen. He's experienced and I have a great relationship with him. If the circumstances fall right it might happen.

"Willian is not going anywhere. His contract is up at the end of the season but he's still in talks with the club."

Lampard remains open to potential incomings at Stamford Bridge but assured there was "nothing imminent".

However, his squad could be bolstered after the February break with Loftus-Cheek stepping up his recovery from an Achilles rupture that has ruled him out since May.

"He's training now with the Under-16s, Under-18s and then the Under-23s in a short space of time, which is good for us. The sooner he can be back with us the better," said Lampard.

"We're working in every way. There's a different look on his face, more smiley and happy. It's been tough. He's not one that's walked around head down creating a negative atmosphere, but it's a lonely place.

"He's integrating more towards us now. It can be forgotten we've missed a hugely influential player. If he can be training with us after the break he might not be far away."

Lampard added that Christian Pulisic is in line to return from a groin problem next month.

Chelsea secured the future of one of their brightest young talents by handing a new five-and-a-half-year contract to right-back Reece James.

The 20-year-old's breakthrough into Frank Lampard's first team this season is one of several success stories among a richly gifted crop of homegrown academy graduates at Stamford Bridge.

Full international honours are next on the agenda for England Under-21 defender James, with the experiences of his esteemed team-mates suggesting caps might not be too far away.

Even if the decision to give youth its head was in part informed by Chelsea's player registration ban during the previous transfer window, the success of his young stars means Lampard's faith has unquestionably been vindicated.

Tammy Abraham

Given his chance after a prolific loan spell at Aston Villa last season, Abraham is now firmly established as Chelsea's number one striker. The 22-year-old has 15 goals in all competitions this campaign and the recent injury setback for Harry Kane means he could yet be a pivotal figure for his country at Euro 2020. Talks over a new Chelsea deal reportedly remain ongoing.

Mason Mount

A creative midfielder with an eye for goal, Mount quickly felt like a perfect match for Lampard who took him on loan to Derby County for 2018-19 before the pair reunited at Chelsea. His transition to the Premier League has been seamless, with the 21-year-old featuring in all 22 games this season and chipping in with five goals and a pair of assists. Mount also appeared in all six of England's Euro 2020 qualifiers this term, scoring during a 4-0 win in Kosovo.

Fikayo Tomori

A classy and dominant centre-back, Tomori has taken the same path as Mount: a move on loan to Derby, where he was voted player of the season, back to Chelsea, into the first team and called up by England. Back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and West Ham concluded 11 consecutive Premier League starts for the 22-year-old, who then suffered a hip injury. A fit-again Antonio Rudiger and Lampard's willingness to switch between three and four at the back means a challenging second half of the campaign could lie in wait for Tomori, who signed a contract until the end of 2023-24 in December.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

The lavishly gifted winger made his international breakthrough last season despite Maurizio Sarri's reluctance to give him Premier League minutes. Before returning from a ruptured Achilles, Hudson-Odoi committed to a new five-year contract in September, putting lingering links with Bayern Munich to bed. His first goal in the top-flight against Burnley last time out suggested the 19-year-old could be ready for lift-off all over again.

Reece James

Like Hudson-Odoi, James also had to wait for his chance this season after recuperating from injury. Last season's player of the year at Wigan Athletic now boasts 18 senior appearances and a couple of goals – his equaliser in November's scarcely credible 4-4 draw against Ajax one that will live long in the memory. The 20-year-old's attacking prowess and vicious deliveries from the right flank have given Lampard's men a new dimension in recent weeks.

Reece James' attacking prowess from full-back is proving a huge asset, according to Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard.

The 20-year-old turned in an impressive display at right-back during Saturday's 3-0 win over Burnley – his superb cross for Tammy Abraham to make it 2-0 one of several dangerous deliveries.

Chelsea's former youth-team captain has made 11 appearances in the Premier League following a successful loan spell at Wigan Athletic last season and Lampard believes he has the gifts to play a huge part in his future plans.

"He's got a great, great delivery of cross and more than that. He's good on the ball, he's physically so good and he's so young. This is just the start for him," the Blues boss told a post-match news conference.

"The way I want us to play, the full-backs are going to be huge for us. If I want to get it right and get it to where I want it they have to be able to join in, they have to be an attacking threat.

"He certainly is for us. He's a big weapon at the minute that we have to use well. We have to anticipate those crosses now because they come in with a lot of juice on them.

"We have to be ready to anticipate and get across people and make goals like we did with the Tammy one."

Abraham moved on to 15 goals for the campaign but could arguably have walked away with the matchball after a profligate second half.

"I hope he's upset tonight because he should have had two or three. That's how a striker will be. I know Tammy's like that," Lampard added.

"At the same time, he got his goal. He keeps getting in there, his energy, his personality on the pitch.

"He's that all-round striker. Obviously the next stage is can you be a bit more clinical but I'm delighted with Tammy."

Frank Lampard is hopeful N'Golo Kante will make a swift return from the hamstring problem that ruled him out of Chelsea's 3-0 win over Burnley on Saturday.

Kante's fellow midfielder Jorginho opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi got in on the act.

Chelsea remain in the final Champions League qualification place, five points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United, and Lampard knows how important it will be to have his France international back fit and firing.

"I'm hoping short-term. He actually got through training but had an awareness of it," the Blues boss told BBC Match of the Day after Kante's absence unhelpfully coincided with speculation linking him to Real Madrid.

"It didn't break down as such. It's something we'll have to look at in the week ahead.

"We know how important he is for us and he's played so many games over the years regularly.

"This year, not so much – which is unfortunate for everybody here. So we'll look after him and hopefully it's not too long."

Kante has missed eight of Chelsea's 22 Premier League matches so far this term, having been hampered by a series of minor issues.

Christian Pulisic was another injury victim in training at Cobham this week, suffering tendon damage.

The United States' attacker being sidelined created the opportunity for Hudson-Odoi to start and score his first Premier League goal.

"Callum did very well. The urgency of his game, being on the edge, making runs and getting at people – so positive," Lampard added.

"Those are the things that he needs to do, keep working on that. We know the talent he's got."

Callum Hudson-Odoi scored his first Premier League goal as Chelsea shrugged off their home struggles with a 3-0 win over Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

Frank Lampard had seen his team lose three of their past four top-flight matches on their own patch and they had an early scare when a debatable offside call denied Jeff Hendrick the opener.

However, Jorginho's 27th-minute penalty and Tammy Abraham's 15th of the season in all competitions settled nerves.

Hudson-Odoi then got in on the act and only some later wastefulness from Abraham averted a heavier defeat for Burnley, who are four points above the relegation zone in 15th having played a game more than the four sides immediately below them.

Burnley thought they were ahead in the 18th minute, but Ben Mee was flagged offside when he nodded Dwight McNeil's free-kick back across goal for Hendrick to finish.

A VAR review allowed a marginal call from the referee's assistant to stand and the visitors again had no help from the video official when Chelsea went ahead.

Although Matthew Lowton pulled his boot out of a challenge on Willian, who appeared to be anticipating contact, he still clattered into the Brazil winger and Jorginho coolly dispatched from 12 yards.

McNeil's set pieces were causing Chelsea problems, with Kepa Arrizabalaga turning a low attempt to his near post behind before Mee's header from the resulting corner was cleared off the line by Ross Barkley.

Mee's positioning might have inconvenienced Nick Pope when the Burnley goalkeeper waved Abraham's header into his net.

Pope partially atoned for that bizarre lapse with a sharp stop from Reece James, who crossed impeccably for Abraham's goal.

Lax Burnley defending allowed Hudson-Odoi to slide in Cesar Azpilicueta's cross four minutes after the restart, with a VAR check concluding Abraham did not get a flick on that would have seen the goal ruled out for offside.

Abraham misjudged to head over at the near post, having been denied by a reflex stop from Pope, who kept out a Willian piledriver and first-time Mason Mount strike inside the final 15 minutes.

What does it mean? Chelsea keep their grip on fourth

On a day when Manchester United were similarly convincing winners over Norwich City, Lampard's men were able to keep the gap between themselves and the Red Devils in fifth at five points. Chelsea are now unbeaten in three league matches after an uneven run and will hope to relocate their early season consistency.

Dwight a delight for cumbersome Clarets

No doubt Sean Dyche's complaints about VAR, diving and other injustices, imagined or otherwise, will dominate the post-match conversation as far as Burnley are concerned. That is a tedious shame because in England Under-21 winger McNeil they have a wonderful talent on their hands. His left-footed deliveries were devilish throughout, while his probing and powerful running kept Chelsea honest long after the result was a formality.

Lowton and Pope undermine Dyche's best-laid plans

Burnley's gameplan on these occasions is built upon organisation, discipline and not having too much of the ball. While that leaves them feeling the effects of tight calls more than most, it also means they cannot afford errors of the sort Lowton and Pope coughed up to skew what had been an even contest.

What's next

Chelsea travel to Newcastle United next Saturday, with Burnley hosting high-flying Leicester City a day later as they seek to avoid a fifth consecutive top-flight loss.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard insisted he had no plans to sell Pedro despite the forward's lack of game time.

Pedro, 32, has made just five Premier League appearances this season and, with his contract expiring at the end of the campaign, has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.

But Lampard, whose side host Burnley on Saturday, said he wanted the former Barcelona attacker to stay.

"He is part of my plans and I started the season and Pedro was in the team and unfortunately he got injured at Norwich before the game and I had to make a change to the starting line-up," he told a news conference on Friday.

"He was out for a while and I do have competition in that area so Peds has had some games here and there. I know he wants more games but he certainly has something he can contribute to us here in his experience and his ability to break lines and run behind people and maybe got those goals in and around the box.

"He's here, I know his contract is up at the end of the season but I'm not even looking that far ahead, he's here and I need everybody because football can change very quickly.

"There can be a period of games where you're on the bench, out of the squad, something changes and then that's the moment when you have to come in and produce and I've got no winners in this game, I want the club to be the winner.

"People come in and do well, they'll stay in the team."

Chelsea are fourth in the table – four points clear of fifth-placed Sheffield United – ahead of their clash with Burnley.

Frank Lampard believes Chelsea's Tammy Abraham is more than capable of filling the void Harry Kane's injury will create in the England team.

Tottenham striker and England captain Kane is expected to be out until at least April due to a hamstring injury.

It means the forward will miss friendlies against Italy and Denmark in March. If there are no complications with his recovery, however, Kane should be fit to feature in Gareth Southgate's Euro 2020 squad.

In the meantime, Lampard insists Chelsea's leading scorer Abraham, who has 12 Premier League goals to his name this term, can thrive for the national team.

"I think he should always be thinking that. He's not silly, you know who your competitors are, whether it's trying to get into our team or the England team," Lampard told a news conference when asked if Abraham should be thinking of replacing Kane.

"The thing I love about Tammy is it won't just be Kane – he'll do well to look at Kane and take some markers from his game – but I know Tammy will be watching every type of striker and trying to improve himself at all times.

"That's the only important thing, that he concentrates himself because the rest will fall into place if he does that."

Lampard also thinks Abraham has lived up to the billing as Chelsea's number nine, and is glad he took the decision to hand the youngster the squad number.

"Really impressed. It was my decision to give it to him purely on his personality in pre-season," Lampard added.

"His personality looked like one that was like 'Yes please I want that, I want to be Chelsea's number nine'. That's an easy thing at that point to say and to feel, but to then go and produce like he has done is a great start.

"It's probably at that stage where everyone expects Tammy to play well to affect games in a big way. That brings a new challenge and that's his one now."

Frank Lampard acknowledged discussions have taken place for Olivier Giroud to leave Chelsea but insists a decision has still yet to be made amid reports he has agreed to join Inter.

World Cup winner Giroud has found playing time limited at Stamford Bridge this season due to the form of Tammy Abraham, making just two Premier League starts.

It has been claimed the France international has agreed terms with Serie A leaders Inter on a two-and-a-half-year deal, a switch that would see him reunited with ex-Blues boss Antonio Conte.

Lampard said the move is "not necessarily" dependent on Chelsea signing a replacement first and the former Arsenal frontman will only leave if it suits all parties.

"I said it after our last game, with Oli the situation is if it's right for everybody and, first and foremost that's us the club because he's under contract, then we'll look at it he can leave the club," Chelsea coach Lampard said. 

"He's been a great professional and trained well despite limited games, I have a lot of respect for him. I still have to take a decision. 

"Everyone is talking about it so I won't beat around the bush, I think his agent has spoken to the club, but until it's signed it's not done."

Ousmane Dembele has been tipped to join Chelsea in the January transfer window but Lampard is surprised to see the Lyon striker so heavily linked with the London club. 

"He is a player I know, and the club knows. But it is a surprise for his name to pop up so much when it's not as much in my conversations so regularly to be brutally honest," added Lampard, who said nothing is close in terms of incomings. 

"At the moment we are working very hard on the training ground. I don't want to cut and dry on anyone, but it is not one we are talking about.”

Lampard revealed Christian Pulisic is set for a spell on the sidelines with an adductor issue ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Burnley.

"Pulisic is out, he will be out for a few weeks," he said. "It's an injury in the adductor, a tendon injury. 

"It's disappointing for us, we have to see how quickly he recovers, it's quite a nasty injury, he was in pain when it happened. 

"It is a damaging miss because he's a good player and we need competition in wide areas and he was in good form. Before Christmas he reported a bit of tiredness and we relied on him a lot. 

"I was worried about injury, I'm not a mind reader or psychic but it happened. It's disappointing because he's a talented player who can make things happen."

Lampard also said Antonio Rudiger has been in good spirits in training after an investigation by the Metropolitan Police into accusations of racism towards the Germany defender during last month's contest at Tottenham was closed without anyone being charged.

"Toni's been in very good form and spirits this week in training," Lampard said. "He knows I'm there for him. 

"It's been investigated nothing more to say, I support all my players in that situation."

Callum Hudson-Odoi took a significant step forward in Chelsea's FA Cup win over Nottingham Forest, but Frank Lampard has no doubt there is more to come.

Chelsea beat Championship side Forest 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Hudson-Odoi opening the scoring before Ross Barkley also found the back of the net.

Lampard suggested in his pre-match news conference that the Blues may have been expecting too much of the 19-year-old winger, who returned from five months out with a ruptured Achilles in September.

Hudson-Odoi has struggled for form since then, but Lampard was impressed by his display against Forest.

"It was a good performance. I was pleased to see him high up the pitch, pleased to see him being aggressive in how he gets at people, which is what he is there for. He gets his goal with a great strike," said Lampard.

"It has been an interesting 12 months for him considering how young he is, when you take that into account. Last year everyone was talking about him for different reasons. He gets a terrible injury, he comes back very early and when he did come back there were issues getting him tip top.

"This was a nice step forward for him. Next time it will be, 'Can you do more?'

"When you are a player of speed and sharpness, when you have an injury like that it can be slightly held back. There is a lot of strength work he needs to do – stuff on the pitch and in the gym now we're getting him towards the point where he has that acceleration.

"As a player he is 19 and he has had that injury so there is a lot more to come from him."

Danny Drinkwater has returned from an unsuccessful loan to Burnley and Lampard said it was "a possibility" he could head straight back out in another temporary switch.

The future of Olivier Giroud, an unused substitute against Forest with Michy Batshuayi deputising for the rested Tammy Abraham, also remains up in the air.

Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Lyon have been linked with Giroud and Lampard did not rule out the France international leaving the club.

"There's no update on Oli and my answer remains the same as it has done recently," added the Chelsea head coach.

"I have spoken with him. If the conditions are that it is something Oli really wants to do and it works for the club and for me and the squad, then it's something that could happen.

"But it's only when all three bases are covered. So, we're still there."

Callum Hudson-Odoi was Chelsea's star as Frank Lampard's side eased into the FA Cup fourth round with a 2-0 home defeat of Nottingham Forest.

Hudson-Odoi's sixth-minute opener at Stamford Bridge on Sunday got the Blues off to a flyer and Ross Barkley doubled their lead before half-time.

It was a welcome win for Chelsea, who had lost three of their past four home games in the Premier League.

Second-tier side Forest, who were much changed, were unable to lay a glove on the eight-time winners.

Chelsea, who also knocked Forest out at this stage last year, opened the scoring early on.

Quick build-up play led to Hudson-Odoi being fed on the right, with the England international cutting inside and firing a low finish through the legs of Yuri Ribeiro to beat Jordan Smith.

The Championship side were awarded a penalty in the 22nd minute when Alex Mighten was bundled over by Fikayo Tomori, but a VAR check showed the lively 17-year-old was offside.

Chelsea then doubled their lead, Smith parrying Hudson-Odoi's powerful drive, with Barkley arriving late to tuck home the rebound at the back post.

A third almost arrived on the hour-mark, Smith making a great save to tip Barkley's header onto the post after Hudson-Odoi opened up the Forest defence once more.

Ryan Yates then had a close-range header ruled out for offside at the other end.

Teenage defender Tariq Lamptey was given another cameo off the bench in the closing stages, when Chelsea almost got a third through Hudson-Odoi only for Smith to push his try wide with the final act of the game.

 

What does it mean? Chelsea still need to spend

Forest are going well in the Championship's top four, but Lampard may have expected more from some squad players who were given a chance to shine. It has been reported that Jadon Sancho, Wilfried Zaha and Moussa Dembele are among the Blues' January targets after their transfer ban was reduced on appeal.


Hudson-Odoi makes case for starts

One player who did impress was Hudson-Odoi, the 19-year-old providing a regular threat from the right wing.

He has only started three games in the Premier League this season but could have persuaded Lampard to trust him in the XI more often in the coming weeks.


Batshuayi draws a blank

Michy Batshuayi offered very little in a rare start up front and, with the Blues said to be hunting attacking reinforcements, he could not afford to have a quiet day.

Missing a good chance from another fine Hudson-Odoi cross epitomised his lack of confidence in front of goal. Batshuayi had scored 10 times for Chelsea in seven domestic cup games against lower-league opposition.


What's next?

Burnley visit Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday, when Forest go to Reading in the Championship.

Olivier Giroud will only leave Chelsea if it is to the benefit of the club and does not leave the Blues short, assistant coach Jody Morris suggested.

France international Giroud has found playing time limited under Frank Lampard this season, racking up just 191 minutes in the Premier League thus far after finding himself behind Tammy Abraham in the pecking order.

Giroud previously stated he may leave Stamford Bridge as he aims to play regular football ahead of Euro 2020 and there have been suggestions the ex-Arsenal striker could be used as a makeweight in Chelsea's reported pursuit of Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha.

However, Morris – who praised Giroud's professionalism amid the uncertainty – was clear Chelsea will only sell if it makes sense for the squad.

"He still plays for Chelsea. It has got to be for the benefit of the club," said Morris, who was on pre-match media duties for Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie with Nottingham Forest as Lampard battles a bug.

"We can't just let people walk out the door of the club if that means we're left short somewhere.

"Sometimes you have to look at the individual as well and if it is beneficial for them to be here or be happy.

"I've got to say Giroud has been nothing but a class act and top professional since he's been here. I don't envisage there being any problems along those lines."

Chelsea have been tipped to be busy in the January window after having a transfer ban reduced on appeal, with Zaha, Lyon striker Moussa Dembele and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho among those having been tipped with a switch to Stamford Bridge.

Morris says work is going on behind the scenes but any incomings must be able to improve the squad.

"There's a couple of areas you'd be looking at but it will all depend on what the movements are from within the club as well," he added. 

"I'm not as privy to those conversations as the manager is but I'm sure there's a little bit of work going on behind the scenes. 

"Any movements or anybody brought in or going out the door will need to be for the benefit of the club and improve the squad. 

"There isn't any point in bringing anybody in that isn't going to improve us and I know that the manager and powers that be are looking at those."

Morris was also quizzed about a social-media post appearing to mock now Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho in November.

Then working as a pundit for Sky Sports, former Chelsea manager Mourinho said he had concerns over how Lampard's squad would fare against the Premier League's better teams following a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Morris replied to a clip of Mourinho's comments with the post "Jose is still worried" alongside three laughing emojis, but he insists his intentions were misconstrued.

"A lot of people misread my laughing at Jose's comments," Morris said when asked about the post. "Listen, I've got nothing but the utmost respect for Jose.

"He's an absolute legend and one of the best managers in the game. I personally was just laughing at the fact that he was worried whether we would be winning that much.

"I don't think he's that bothered whether we're winning that much. And neither should he be, as a pundit."

Christian Pulisic would welcome new signings at Chelsea even if it increases competition for places at Stamford Bridge.

United States forward Pulisic was Chelsea's last signing but, after the club's transfer ban was reduced on appeal, they are reportedly ready to splash the cash in the January window.

Jadon Sancho and Wilfried Zaha, who also play wide, are said to be among Chelsea's targets as they seek to add depth to Frank Lampard's young squad.

Pulisic, who has scored five goals in 16 Premier League appearances since joining from Borussia Dortmund, is not worried about the prospect of fresh faces at Chelsea.

"It is normal, teams look to improve their team and if players do come in there is competition, that is how it goes," Pulisic told reporters.

"So we'll be ready for that and hopefully we'll have players that come in and want to help us."

Pulisic was speaking after Chelsea's indifferent form continued with a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion to get their 2020 up and running.

The Blues have only won two of their past six league games, remaining fourth in the table despite their stumbling performances of late.

Pulisic feels a lack of cutting edge was a factor in their draw at Brighton, for whom Alireza Jahanbakhsh scored a stunning equaliser with an overhead kick.

"[It's a case of] just being clinical, experience and knowing how to manage a game," Pulisic added. "We said at half-time that we had the chance to kill the game and we just weren't able to. We couldn't get the goal and, in the end, they found an unbelievable goal.

"It is doing a bit more to keep going, attack and create chances and just have that killer instinct. Just a little bit of that, we are missing that. I can do better with that as well. Just being more clinical in the final third, finding the right pass or shot and scoring the goals."

Frank Lampard believes the past four fixtures have shown "the good and the bad" of Chelsea, meaning they have more work to do in the second half of the season.

The Blues were held to a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion on New Year's Day, having beaten Tottenham and Arsenal away either side of a home defeat to Southampton in a mixed run.

Encouraged by some aspects of Chelsea's performances but concerned by others, Lampard said his side must now "remain humble" and "work hard" as he addressed reporters at a news conference.

"We've got work to do," he said. "The Christmas period has probably been a small showing of our season.

"Tottenham was a fantastic all-round performance; at Arsenal, showed great spirit and fight for a young group; Southampton, we struggled to break a team down and lost a game at home; and then today, from a game where we should have the mindset to kill it, because the opportunity was there in the first half, and we don't.

"It shows the good and the bad of us. And that shows that we must remain humble, we must work hard. We've had two great results over Christmas, but there's a lot of work to do."

Lampard bemoaned a lack of ruthlessness post-match at Brighton, but he added there was no doubting Chelsea's attitude, rather their dearth of quality.

"Sometimes you can excuse a bad period in the game of [being down to] a lack of fight or a lack of urgency, a lack of whatever," he said.

"Today wasn't. Today was [down to] a lack of quality on the ball.

"We had a situation in the first half where we knew the problem for them, we could find our full-backs easily, keep control of the ball easily. And we just decided not to keep doing that, not to keep doing the simple things.

"Then, all of a sudden, you're giving the ball away, and when you get opportunities to score, you're not taking them. If you don't do that at this level, you're not going to win games that you should."

Now able to make signings in January after their transfer ban was lifted, Chelsea continue to be linked with Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace, who reportedly have an interest in Blues man Olivier Giroud.

Lampard was not interested in discussing a hypothetical deal on Wednesday.

"I wouldn't talk about Zaha, and the idea of that deal [involving Giroud] is something I haven't even considered," he said. "I wouldn't talk about Zaha because he's not a player of ours.

"If we have to do business, we'll do it in the way that we see fit to try to make us better. That's behind closed doors, as opposed to just announcing who we might want to bring in."

Frank Lampard criticised Chelsea for failing to see off Brighton and Hove Albion before half-time on New Year's Day, as Alireza Jahanbakhsh's sensational late strike earned a 1-1 draw.

The Blues led early through Cesar Azpilicueta and were then comfortable for the most part until they came under increasing pressure in the final 10 minutes.

Kepa Arrizabalaga was forced into impressive saves either side of a stunning overhead-kick from Jahanbakhsh.

Chelsea also could have clinched the points in the closing minutes, yet Lampard did not believe they should have been in a position where the game was still in the balance.

"It was frustrating for different reasons," he told BT Sport. "In the first half, the game was there to be won.

"We weren't ruthless enough. We got the goal and we had the possession. But we just didn't kill the game off. We allowed them to stay in the game.

"In the end, it was a wonder goal. But we were lucky not to lose the game. In the end, the tactics matched up for both teams. But they were better than us. We have to take that on the chin."

Jahanbakhsh had not appeared in the Premier League this season until December and, despite joining Brighton in 2018, only scored his first goal for the club against Bournemouth on Saturday.

A second strike in quick succession brought the Iran winger further delight, as he reflected on "a very tough time".

"It's obviously a great feeling to be involved in such important games," Jahanbakhsh said. "I've been working hard to get my chance.

"I was finally there last game and tried to help the team and make an impact. It had been a long time that I didn't play, but I'm very happy to help the team and make the people happy.

"It's been a very tough time for me, but I'm very glad I've turned it around. It's been two great games, and I'm really happy to help the team to get points."

Real Madrid are already eyeing a move for Liverpool star Sadio Mane at the end of the season.

Mane has developed into one of the world's best attackers, starring for the Premier League leaders and finishing fourth in the 2019 Ballon d'Or.

Now, another one of Europe's biggest clubs are making initial moves for the 27-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID MAKE CONTACT OVER MANE MOVE

Real Madrid have spoken to Mane's representatives about a possible move, according to Le 10 Sport.

Mane is contracted at Liverpool until 2023, but appears to be attracting interest from the LaLiga giants.

The Senegal international has scored 14 goals and provided eight assists in 27 games in all competitions this season.

ROUND-UP

- The January transfer window will see Chelsea and Manchester City enter a bidding war for Leicester City defender Ben Chilwell, according to The I.

- Similarities between Moussa Dembele and Didier Drogba have made the Lyon striker a target for Chelsea boss Frank Lampard, according to Sky Sports News, with the 23-year-old having scored 10 goals in 25 appearances for the Ligue 1 side this season.

- Mikel Arteta is keen to assess all of his options as he aims to lift Arsenal back into the top half of the Premier League table, and he is considering a recall for £27million centre-back William Saliba from his season-long loan at Saint-Etienne according to The Mirror.

- Also on Arsenal's to-do list is a bid for promising RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, who is also a target for Tottenham and Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail.

- Newcastle United head coach Steve Bruce wants to bolster his midfield with the addition of Burnley pair Danny Drinkwater and Dwight McNeil, and reports in The Telegraph say Genk striker Mbwana Samatta is also on his radar.

- Carlo Ancelotti said he will wait until January 5 before discussing potential transfer targets with the Everton board and when he does El Desmarque has suggested Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez could be one of the names on his list.

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