Chelsea boss Frank Lampard intends to stick with his favoured 4-3-3 formation against Wolves despite potentially being without three wingers.

Lampard has used that system throughout the campaign and the Blues were unbeaten in 14 games prior to Saturday's 1-0 Premier League loss at Everton.

Chelsea were without Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic at Goodison Park, so Timo Werner and Kai Havertz started out wide and had little impact on the game.

Ziyech and Hudson-Odoi will play no part in Wednesday's trip to Wolves, while Pulisic is included in the squad but not over a hamstring issue, though Lampard will not change his formation.

"That is not something we will do in the short term, no. We've been playing really well," he said at Monday's pre-match news conference. 

"Hakim has certainly been very pivotal and Callum when he's been playing has done well and all of a sudden we are very short on wingers. But we have capabilities to still play. 

"It wasn't the formation that we didn't get right at the weekend, it was the way we executed it, which we have players that can definitely comfortably do that. So we just need to improve on the weekend."

Asked if Pulisic has a chance of playing, Lampard said: "He trained on the day we played against Everton and he felt better so he is in the squad for tomorrow. 

"It is yet to be decided whether he starts or not but it is positive news from where it was at the weekend."

Chelsea had 72 per cent of the ball against Everton but failed to register a shot on target in the second half, their last effort coming from defender Kurt Zouma after 28 minutes.

Lampard conceded after the game his side did not have the answers to break down their opponents, not helped by the absence of Ziyech.

Chelsea have won four and drawn one of the five league games Ziyech has started this season for a win rate of 80 per cent, compared to 28.6 per cent - two wins, three draws, two losses - in the seven games he has not started.

But Lampard insisted he has other players in his squad capable of stepping up to fill the void of the Morocco international, who is expected to return from a thigh injury in the next fortnight.

"The Premier League is unforgiving," he said. "We saw that with different results over the weekend and we see it pretty much every weekend and matchday. 

"We weren't at our top level on Saturday and we got beaten. That's it. We've been on a long unbeaten run, playing some really good football as well as winning games. 

"We dropped our level for a game. That's absolutely on us to pick it up again straight away."

He added: "What we have to come to terms with, it felt like Everton played very similar to how Tottenham played against us a couple of weeks ago and if people are watching us of course they will to stop us from doing what we've been doing well. 

"It's on us to find other ways. We didn't move the ball quickly enough as a team to hit the sides to maybe turn them around.

"So I think we just need to understand that when teams make it difficult for us, we have to have ways to get round that. Our level dropped.

"If we'd been at our top level we would have found a way to get round that. I certainly accept this group of players going so long unbeaten that there is one game that feels like that. 

"And we can't really make any excuse of not having the wingers. It is unfortunate in the short term. I think we have players capable of playing in those areas so I don't want to hang on that one. Hopefully the wingers are all back soon anyway."

Chelsea were paired with Atletico Madrid in Monday's Champions League last-16 draw and Lampard acknowledged his side have a huge task on their hands if they are to progress.

"Most people will say it's the toughest draw we could have had when you go off current form, how they are doing in LaLiga, European experience and the quality of the team and players

"On the other hand, all draws are difficult in the Champions League. We have to have belief in ourselves when that game comes around. You have to beat these teams if you're going to win the Champions League. It is what it is.

"I watched them knock Liverpool out last year. They are obviously a great team with experience and quality in the squad. Most people would say that they were one of the toughest we could have drawn on paper. We have to turn up and do our job."

Frank Lampard will remain patient with Kai Havertz and insists any critics must give the Chelsea forward time to adapt to the Premier League.

Up against a resilient Everton on Saturday, Lampard's side slipped to their first defeat since a penalty shoot-out loss to Tottenham in the EFL Cup on September 29.

It ended an unbeaten run of 14 games in all competitions, with the Blues missing the chance to go top of the table.

Havertz, who started on the right of a front three which also included Timo Werner and Olivier Giroud, put in a particularly frustrating showing.

The Germany international, signed from Bayer Leverkusen this year, was kept under wraps by Ben Godfrey, who played out of position at left-back in an Everton defence comprising four centre-backs.

Havertz had 42 touches, completed 22 of his 28 passes, registered one attempt at goal – which was blocked – and supplied one key pass.

Godfrey made a game-high five interceptions as he frustrated Havertz, with the youngster making way for Tammy Abraham in the 68th minute.

Yet despite Havertz's below-par display, Lampard backed the 21-year-old, who has scored one goal and provided one assist from 10 chances created across 10 Premier League appearances, to prove his quality.

"In the modern day there's going to be criticism of every player of every club that loses a game, or something went awry or a pass went astray, so we certainly should be patient with Kai Havertz from a Chelsea point of view, because he's a top-quality talent that's come into this league," Lampard told a news conference.

"He's playing on the right wing, he can play in any position across the front – he played off the right wing countless times before he signed for Chelsea and he can play in midfield also, so that's not an issue.

"We do have to be patient, not just with him, but any young player, because of the speed of the Premier League, so I've got no problem with Kai.

"If people want to jump straight on to criticise, just wait, give a young player time, whether it be a week or a month or six months or a year, whatever, because I know the player that Kai Havertz is going to be."

Everton had just 28 per cent possession at Goodison Park, with the hosts attempting just 241 passes compared to Chelsea's 639.

Yet Gylfi Sigurdsson's first-half penalty proved enough, as the Toffees restricted the visitors to just three shots on target – the last of which came from Kurt Zouma in the 28th minute.

Lampard spoke highly of his former manager Carlo Ancelotti before the match, and the Everton boss believes his old side have the potential to compete on all fronts despite their performance on Saturday.

"Yes, they are a fantastic team, a fantastic squad," Ancelotti told reporters.

"They are playing well and going to fight for the title in the end, and for sure in the Champions League they have possibilities.

"They are a young squad and perhaps sometimes they need the experience to manage difficult games, but it is only this. The quality of the team is top."

All eyes were on Old Trafford for Saturday's Manchester derby, though the 0-0 draw was ultimately a rather duller affair than many expected.

But at the very least, the draw actually took them a point closer to one of the title favourites in Chelsea, who suffered a shock defeat to an Everton side who had been struggling badly in recent weeks.

Newcastle United piled on the misery for West Brom with a late winner, while Aston Villa claimed a trademark – yes, that's right, and you'll soon understand why – victory at Wolves to continue their fine campaign.

Here is the pick of the Opta facts from Saturday's action in the Premier League.

Everton 1-0 Chelsea: The pupil downed by the master

In recent weeks there has been plenty of talk about Chelsea being not just title challengers, but maybe even favourites. Such chatter will have been a little quieter after this.

Frank Lampard came up against one of his former Chelsea managers at Goodison Park, with Carlo Ancelotti arguably the coach to get the very best out of the former England international.

After all, Lampard scored 32 times in 60 Premier League appearances under the Italian – by comparison, he netted 49 in 140 matches for Jose Mourinho.

Nevertheless, Lampard will have undoubtedly been frustrated on Merseyside. This was his second defeat in 12 managerial games across all competitions against his former bosses, the other loss coming against Manuel Pellegrini last season.

It was a somewhat limp and unimaginative performance by the Blues, who failed to even register a single shot on target after the 28th minute despite having 72 per cent of the possession.

Manchester United 0-0 Manchester City: Derby fails to live up to expectations

Neutrals always expect fireworks from the Manchester derby, but sadly on this occasion it was something of a damp squib and just the fifth goalless draw between the two giants in 47 Premier League meetings.

It was the third home league game this term in which United have failed to score, already one more than in the whole of last season.

City's lack of activity in front of goal – compared to their usual standards – was particularly notable, as Pep Guardiola's side managed just nine shots in total. Three of their previous four instances of attempting fewer than 10 shots in a Premier League away game have been at Old Trafford.

The stalemate also meant Raheem Sterling's remarkable record against United continued. In 17 Premier League meetings with the Red Devils, he is still yet to score – that is over 10 more games than he has faced any other team in the competition without finding the net.

Wolves 0-1 Aston Villa: Villans doing the business on the road

Aston Villa's brilliant form on the road shows no sign of stopping, with their 1-0 win at local rivals Wolves taking them to four away victories out of five this season.

Their 12 points picked up away from Villa Park is already one more than they managed in the entirety of last season, and they still have another 14 trips to make.

But let's not get carried away with this latest one – it wasn't pretty. There were a total of 38 fouls in this game (23 Wolves, 15 Villa) and the visitors' winner came right at the end.

Anwar El Ghazi got it in stoppage time, making it the fourth time they have scored a winner in the 90th minute or later since the start of last season. No other team has done so more than twice.

As for Wolves, Adama Traore's difficult spell stutters on. He was facing one of his former teams, but his inability to get a goal or assist means it is 19 league games since his last goal involvement, having contributed to nine in the 19 top-flight matches before that.

Newcastle United 2-1 West Brom: Magpies making the most of every minute

Steve Bruce's Newcastle may not be the most thrilling of sides to watch, but they cannot be accused of lacking spirit in the dying embers of matches.

They left it late against the Baggies on Saturday, with Dwight Gayle getting the winner eight minutes from time, the eighth time this term Newcastle have netted in the final quarter-of-an-hour of games.

That equates to 57 per cent of their 14 Premier League goals and, as you might expect, it is the highest proportion of a team's total in England's top flight in 2020-21.

But, impressively, Newcastle aren't just leaving it until the end. Miguel Almiron opened the scoring on Saturday after just 19 seconds. That's their second-fastest Premier League goal ever after Alan Shearer required only 10 seconds against Manchester City in January 2003.

There is little to be positive about for West Brom, however, as Slaven Bilic's men became the first team to concede 25 goals in the Premier League this season.

Frank Lampard is not buying into suggestions Chelsea have the strongest squad in the Premier League after they fell to Everton.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's 22nd-minute penalty saw Everton to a 1-0 win on Saturday, ending Chelsea's 14-game unbeaten streak.

While they sit third in the table, the loss was a blow to Chelsea's title chances, left two points adrift of Tottenham and Liverpool, who play on Sunday.

Last week, Lampard's men were labelled Premier League favourites by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp after their off-season spending, but the former England international dismissed suggestions he had the strongest squad at his disposal.

"I keep reading how we have the strongest squad in the league but I don't understand it," he told a news conference.

"There are squads and teams around us that have won titles in the last three or four years that have got players littered through their squad, who have wingers with 30 goals a year, strikers with 20 or 30 goals a year and people that have won the Champions League and league. We clearly haven't got that.

"We have young players, some players who have won titles, but we have some players in our squad who are new to the league. We have players who were playing in the Championship or on loan in the last two years.

"We are a work in progress and nights like tonight might happen. I don't like them but that's the challenge for us to make sure we bounce back strong and let's see for Tuesday."

Chelsea's final shot on target against Everton came in the 28th minute as they suffered their first Premier League away defeat of the season.

Reece James and Mason Mount hit the post for the visitors at Goodison Park, but Lampard lamented his side's slow start.

"I think we could have got something out of the game but I wouldn't say we were unlucky because it is football and I don't think we peppered their goal with great opportunities," he said.

"We had opportunities that you mentioned [James and Mount hitting the post] that could get you at least a point but we weren't at our best.

"We have been on a really good run and we knew what was coming with Everton with the physicality and in the early part of the game we didn't deal with that well.

"Once you go 1-0 down, you give yourself a problem and something to hang onto. The game went like that and we didn't do enough to break them down."

Chelsea will look to bounce back when they visit Wolves on Tuesday.

Chelsea missed the chance to move top of the Premier League table as Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty secured Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti a 1-0 win over his former club. 

Ancelotti endured a miserable return to Stamford Bridge last season with his current employers, Everton going down 4-0 in the capital. 

However, he came out on top in a second meeting with Frank Lampard, who was part of the Chelsea squad who secured a domestic double under the Italian coach in the 2009-10 season. 

The only goal of the game arrived in the 22nd minute thanks to an early Christmas gift from Edouard Mendy, the goalkeeper needlessly charging into Dominic Calvert-Lewin as the striker attempted to get on the end of his own flick-on from Jordan Pickford's long punt. 

Sigurdsson calmly rolled in his attempt from the spot for his first league goal in 17 games, much to the delight of the 2,000-strong crowd inside Goodison Park. 

Chelsea responded brightly to the setback of falling behind, Reece James striking a post with a low drive that Pickford appeared to get a slight touch to, while Kurt Zouma – who spent a season on loan at Everton earlier in his career – planted a close-range attempt straight at the England goalkeeper. 

Richarlison failed to capitalise on a clear shooting opportunity before the break for the hosts, slipping as he struck the ball with his left foot to make Mendy's life easier. 

Sigurdsson went close with a free-kick early in the second half and was then denied the chance to take another penalty when a VAR check found Calvert-Lewin offside prior to being bundled over by Ben Chilwell. 

Still, one goal proved enough as Chelsea failed to find an equaliser, despite Lampard sending on Tammy Abraham in place of the ineffective Kai Havertz to partner Olivier Giroud up top.

Mason Mount saw a free-kick kept out by a post as Everton held firm, in the process securing a third successive home win over their opponents as they moved into the top half.

FT. Big performance. Big win.



— Everton (@Everton) December 12, 2020 What does it mean? Sweet success for depleted Toffees

Everton had stuttered after an excellent start to the 2020-21 season, winning just once in their previous seven league outings after opening up with four wins on the spin.

Their cause was not helped by a shortage of full-backs - Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey did an admirable job either side of the excellent Michael Keane and Yerry Mina - in what was a battling display, as shown by them having just 28 per cent possession. Indeed, Chelsea failed to manage an on-target attempt in the entire second half.

Sigurdsson pulls the strings

The Iceland international has managed more Premier League goals against Chelsea than any other side in the competition, also scoring twice against them while playing for Tottenham and Swansea.

Everton's captain created six chances for his team-mates before making way in the closing minutes, while no one else on the pitch created more than two.

In it for keeps?

Mendy had seemingly solved the keeper conundrum at Chelsea, conceding just twice in seven league games prior to the trip to Merseyside. However, Lampard will have every reason to question why the signing from Rennes felt the need to rush out and confront Calvert-Lewin when the situation was under control.

What's next?

Chelsea are back on the road again during a full round of midweek Premier League fixtures, travelling to Wolves on Tuesday. Everton have an extra day to recover before they visit Leicester City.

Chelsea possess a similar spirit to Leicester City during their title-winning Premier League campaign in 2015-16, according to Ben Chilwell.

Frank Lampard's side have not suffered defeat in their past 17 games – excepting an EFL Cup exit at the hands of Tottenham on penalties – and sat two points off top in the Premier League going into the weekend.

Jurgen Klopp, the manager of reigning champions Liverpool, previously tipped Chelsea as the favourites to lift the trophy, but Lampard has been keen to steer clear of such talk.

Chilwell, 23, was a fringe member of the Leicester squad that completed a shock championship triumph four years ago and feels a similar atmosphere among the players at Stamford Bridge.

"We're not looking that far ahead. What I'm finding quite interesting is the confidence of the group," Chilwell told The Guardian.

"There doesn't seem to be any drop-off at any stage and hopefully that will continue for the rest of the season because we have a great squad. The positive thing is we don't get carried away.

"When we won the league with Leicester in 2016, when I was fortunate enough to be in the squad at 18 or 19 years old, what I found was that the boys were going into every game confident they were going to win. At the moment with Chelsea that's what the group feels like.

"When we go into matches we feel like we can't really lose at the moment, which is a great thing to have as long as you work hard with it.

"I knew the expectations are to win titles and trophies. That's the reason I wanted to come. I'm 23 years old and it was important to come to a club where hopefully I can win stuff.

"The manager makes sure the standards don't slip. We all see how hard he works and it rubs off on us."

Chilwell's role at left-back means he is relied upon to get the ball into the box, something Chelsea have proved adept at this season.

The Blues have been successful with 36 of their 138 crosses in open play, with their 26.1 per cent accuracy the best in the Premier League.

Chilwell has found a team-mate with six of his 18 open-play deliveries (33.3 per cent), with only Jamal Lewis (47.8 per cent) and Tariq Lamptey (34.5 per cent) more precise among players who have attempted more than 15 crosses.

Right-back Reece James is only 25 per cent accurate but has sent in more successful crosses in open play (14) than any other player in the top flight this season.

"I knew how good Reece was before I came here but I just wanted to say how much he’s surprised me," Chilwell said.

"He's a brilliant player. He's powerful but quick with it. He's very difficult to play against because of how physical he likes to be against his opponents."

Everton will be without star playmaker James Rodriguez as Carlo Ancelotti takes on his former club Chelsea on Saturday.

James, 29, sustained a minor calf problem in last week's 1-1 Premier League draw at Burnley and has not trained this week.

Everton have lost their last two home games against Leeds United and Manchester United, dropping to ninth in the table after topping the standings in the early stages of 2020-21.

Ancelotti has not lost three straight home league games as a manager since 2006 with Milan, while March 2016 was the last time it happened for Everton.

They will now bid to avoid that fate at Goodison Park against an in-form Chelsea side who sit third in the table.

"We have James out – he had a little problem in the game against Burnley," Ancelotti said at his pre-match news conference.

"He was not able to train this week, I think he will start to train next week. For this game, we don't want to take a risk.

"He had a charge on his calf muscle after the game against Burnley. Nothing special, but he was not able to train.

"We have to look at him after the game to see if he will be able to train and play against Leicester [City, on Wednesday]."

As well as James, Everton boss Ancelotti ruled out captain Seamus Coleman and midfielder Fabian Delph, who had both hoped to feature, while Lucas Digne and Jean-Philippe Gbamin are longer-term absentees.

"I'm not used to complaining about the players who are not available," added the Italian. "The players who are available trained well and are in good condition.

"We understand that there will be an important moment and test, not only on Saturday but in this period of December.

"So, I think we arrive at the game with confidence and motivation."

Ancelotti will do battle with his former player, Frank Lampard, who impressed under his stewardship at Chelsea.

He was in charge of 76 Premier League games with Chelsea from 2009 to 2011 and Lampard played in 60 of those, scoring 32 goals.

Only under Jose Mourinho did Lampard score more in the Premier League (49 in 140 appearances).

Frank Lampard is relishing a reunion with Carlo Ancelotti when Chelsea head to Everton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Blues legend Lampard played in 60 of Ancelotti's 76 top-flight matches at the Stamford Bridge helm, when the Italian averaged 2.07 points per game, aided by the midfielder's 32 goals.

Everton boss Ancelotti led Chelsea to league glory in 2009-10 but will be looking to put a dent in their hopes of repeating the feat this term when the sides meet at Goodison Park, where his tenure in charge of the Blues ended in 2011.

Lampard's men sit third, just two points off the summit and five clear of an Everton team who have suffered a loss of form, with the Chelsea head coach nonetheless still full of praise for his old mentor.

"I was heavily influenced by him as a player and a man," said Lampard, who hopes to have Christian Pulisic available after a slight hamstring problem.

"He is right at the top when I speak about the managers I've worked with for everything about him, the huge success he has had at a number of clubs.

"One to one I found him to be a great coach, a great man and I look forward at all times to seeing him and speaking to him."

Everton made a fine start to the season but have won just one of their previous seven matches, sliding into mid-table as a result.

However, the Toffees have triumphed in their last two Premier League home games against Chelsea – including a 3-1 win under Duncan Ferguson's tutelage in the corresponding fixture last season – and, in 11-goal striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, boast the division's top scorer.

Lampard, whose team cruised to a 4-0 win over the Toffees at Stamford Bridge in March in their final game before a three-month, coronavirus-enforced break, has some sympathy for how Everton's fortunes have changed.

"That's the nature of the Premier League, they started very well and have quality players, and have a fantastic manager who is one of the best in the world," he said.

"The Premier League is unforgiving. We all have patches where results are challenging but it doesn't change my thoughts about how I approach Everton.

"They are a very good side, with quality individuals, who can win games. I'm focusing on their strengths and dangers when we go there."

As for his own side's hopes of competing for the ultimate prize, Lampard added: "We're happy where we are but there's a long way to go. Words aren't important at this point."

Chelsea have kept a clean sheet in six of their last eight Premier League meetings with Everton, losing both games in which they conceded.

The man the hosts, who have leaked top-flight goals this term, will need to watch out for is Olivier Giroud, who has scored in each of his last six Premier League starts for Chelsea – only Mark Stein (seven between December 1993 and February 1994) has scored in more consecutive starts for the Blues in the competition.

Chelsea have been given a fitness boost after confirmation hamstring injuries suffered by Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi are not serious.

Morocco attacking midfielder Ziyech limped out of Chelsea's 3-1 win over Leeds United in the Premier League last weekend, while England winger Hudson-Odoi suffered a similar injury in training.

However, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said after his side's 1-1 draw with Krasnodar in their final Champions League group game on Tuesday that the duo will be back soon.

Chelsea face Everton in the Premier League on Saturday before games against Wolves and West Ham on December 15 and 21 respectively.

"Both players are hopefully going to be fit for a week on Wednesday," Lampard told a post-match media conference.

"They had scans which are showing the injuries will be two weeks, so that's positive, particularly with Hakim.

"With Callum we didn't know what to expect when he got injured in training a couple of days ago."

Victory for Chelsea over Krasnodar would have given them their highest ever points total in a single Champions League group stage (16).

But the Blues fell short of the milestone after a subdued game at Stamford Bridge, having already qualified as Group E winners as Jorginho's penalty cancelled out Remy Cabella's opener.

Lampard acknowledged none of his players really stood out against the Russian side, but he was impressed with the performance of midfielder Billy Gilmour.

The 19-year-old Scot made 83 passes with an accuracy of 89.2 per cent, and had 97 touches – more than any other player on the pitch.

"Billy Gilmour was very good on his first start this season. I'm very pleased. We wanted to win but that wasn't to be," Lampard told BT Sport.

"I liked the discipline of the team – they had some counter-attacking moments but nothing big."

On whether he would send Gilmour out on loan, Lampard added: "Not sure. The way he trains and plays I can see him with us. I have to make sure the pathway is right.

"Everyone was pretty good. There weren't outstanding performances, but I asked the lads to be professional and they were.

"I don't think we can over-analyse the group stage – we've won the group and it's good progression."

Lampard also praised the composure of Tino Anjorin, who became the ninth youngest player to debut for Chelsea in the Champions League at 19 years and 15 days.

"He is a work in progress, but the more he trains with us the better he will get," Lampard said.

"I thought he did well tonight with a good debut. In training he has showed a real ability to step straight into the level in terms of his ability on the ball."

Jorginho scored from the penalty spot as Chelsea came from behind to draw 1-1 with Krasnodar in their final match of the Champions League group stage on Tuesday.

Frank Lampard's side had already qualified for the knockout phase as winners of Group E and marginally had the better of a low-key fixture at Stamford Bridge.

Remy Cabella put Krasnodar ahead with a crisp low finish before Jorginho equalised from the penalty spot a few minutes later.

Tammy Abraham twice went close for Chelsea in open play but despite his tireless efforts up front the Blues could not find a winner.

Krasnodar began brightly with Tonny Vilhena's swerving half-volley whistling just over the crossbar and Viktor Claesson striking a shot just past the post from a good position.

The visitors deservedly took the lead after some slick build-up play which culminated in Cristian Ramirez's cutback for Claesson, who fed it to Cabella and the former Newcastle United man arrowed it into the bottom-left corner.

Chelsea got themselves back on terms shortly afterwards when Abraham was impeded by Brazilian defender Kaio as he attempted to turn inside the penalty area.

Jorginho placed the penalty into the corner of the net, deceiving Krasnodar goalkeeper Evgeni Gorodov with his trademark hop-then-shoot spot-kick style.

The penalty was Chelsea's 10th in all competitions this season, which is more than any other Premier League side, having successfully converted eight of them (level with Leicester City).

Abraham skipped clear of the Krasnodar defence just before the half-hour after being found by Kai Havertz, but he could only strike his shot wide of the post.

Chelsea looked the more threatening after half-time as Lampard's side played with greater tempo, although it did not translate to clear goalscoring chances.

Abraham pinched the ball off Ramirez inside the box but Gorodov improvised with his heel to keep out the Chelsea striker's low shot.

Timo Werner upped the energy levels when he came on as a 74th-minute substitute for the ineffectual Havertz, and the German struck a low angled shot just beyond the far post.

But that was as close as Chelsea went in the closing stages as the match petered out.

Kepa Arrizabalaga will make his first Chelsea appearance since October when Krasnodar visit Stamford Bridge in the Champions League on Tuesday, but Hakim Ziyech will miss out.

The world's most expensive goalkeeper made an error resulting in a goal in each of his three Premier League appearances this season and has been usurped by new signing Edouard Mendy.

Mendy has proved a stellar signing for Chelsea, having kept nine clean sheets in his first 13 appearances for the club. He also has the best Champions League save percentage (93.8) among keepers to have featured at least three times this season.

With Chelsea guaranteed to advance from Group E in first place, Lampard will take the opportunity to give Kepa another chance in the first team.

"Kepa starts. As I always say about the team it is about attitude and how you approach the game," said the Blues boss. 

"Obviously, his situation is different because goalkeepers have to be patient when they're not starting games and generally with Mendy's form he's been a very regular pick for me easily.

"But this game is one for Kepa, who is training brilliantly well and acting brilliantly well. These periods will happen in a player's career and sometimes they make you stronger and better at the other end, so I have no qualms about putting him back in.

"He has been very supportive [of Mendy]. I have seen that. I watch from afar and he has been supporting him – quietly, as is his right – and is training well. That's what I look at. Goalkeepers have to push each other as a group, and I see that. His reaction has been spot on."

Lampard assured he is not being pushed to ensure Kepa gets time on the pitch given the £71.6million fee Chelsea paid to sign him from Athletic Bilbao in 2018.

Asked if there was pressure on him to play the Spaniard, he replied: "There's no pressure. The pressure is to win games and I have to do the right thing game by game.

"Mendy has made himself a permanent fixture because with the pressure to win games you have to pick people in form. But the game tomorrow is a chance to give Mendy a rest and give Kepa a game."

Ziyech will not feature against Krasnodar, however, having lasted just 30 minutes of Chelsea's 3-1 win against Leeds United on Saturday.

Lampard has no long-term concerns about the Morocco international's fitness after he missed time at the start of the season with a knee problem.

"He is going for a scan this afternoon so I will have more information tomorrow on his hamstring injury. He's out and Callum Hudson-Odoi is also out, he had a hamstring problem in training," he said.

"I think [Ziyech] was looking good. The injury was looking great. I hope it's a minor injury. Long-term I am not worried about him at all."

Frank Lampard said Chelsea fans can dream of winning the Premier League title, though he warned the Blues must focus on improving after moving top of the table.

Chelsea climbed to the top of the summit ahead of Sunday's north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal, and Liverpool's clash with Wolves after overcoming Leeds United 3-1 on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic scored for Chelsea, who moved a point clear of rivals Tottenham and defending champions Liverpool, albeit temporarily.

Chelsea are 13 games unbeaten across all competitions and nine in the Premier League amid a growing sense of belief at Stamford Bridge, where a limited number of fans were allowed to attend the match in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The club have not won the Premier League since former boss Antonio Conte delivered the trophy in 2016-17.

Speaking during his post-match news conference, Chelsea head coach Lampard – whose Blues finished the day top of the Premier League table for the first time since 2018 – told reporters: "There's certainly nothing wrong with the fans thinking that [winning title]. Great to have them back, their input was huge, the noise they made was huge.

"You can see how excited they are at the end that we are top of the league. My job and our job is to know that it's a long season and the next question is how consistent can we be with this form, how much we can improve, because I believe there is a lot more we can do and there will be a lot of challenges ahead. Enjoy the evening.

"I will have that small glass of wine, maybe a large one, but at the same time we need to make sure we stay grounded. But there were a lot of good things. To play against Leeds in the form they are in and the type of team they are and be that dominant in terms of chances was a real great performance from us."

Giroud continued his red-hot form after being named in the XI as he became the first Chelsea player to score in six consecutive Premier League starts since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in October 2001.

Aged 34 years and 66 days, Giroud – who netted four goals in Chelsea's Champions League rout of Sevilla – is also the oldest player to ever score in six consecutive Premier League starts.

"I think his performance was great. Off the back of the Sevilla performance, the reference he is for us as a front man as and when balls come into an area he has the ability to be cool and clinical with his finishing," said Lampard, who also revealed Hakim Ziyech is battling a hamstring injury.

"He might have had two or three more today. The personality that he is in the team. I have said it before the game, people will always question me about who I play up front because I have options. When Oli is there I know I can rely on him. Today he was huge."

Pulisic was also on target in stoppage time against visiting Leeds – the United States star becoming the 13th different player to score for Chelsea in the Premier League this season. The Blues have had at least four more than any other side in the competition in 2020-21.

Lampard added: "Really pleased today. It's been a difficult period with the injury for him and he gets frustrated in a good way because he wants to play. Having played 60 plus minutes against Sevilla I knew this game would have needed a huge amount of energy for the players and thought it was wise to start him on the bench.

"My plan was probably to give him 30 minutes. But to play the period of the game he played, with the intensity of the game and to get his goal. He has an incredible gift, it sounds simple, but arriving in the six-yard box as a wide man, because that is where the goals are. So I was delighted that he got his goal and he is only going to get stronger now."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has urged his players not to "get caught up in the chat" after they went top of the Premier League table.

The Blues claimed a 3-1 win over Leeds United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic to move, temporarily at least, to the Premier League’s summit.

Alongside second-placed Tottenham, who face Arsenal on Sunday, Chelsea are on the joint-longest unbeaten run in the division after their victory at Stamford Bridge made it nine games without defeat.

They are the league's top scorers with 25 goals and have also kept five clean sheets – than any other top-flight team.

Lampard, however, does not want his squad to get carried away despite the impressive numbers which appear to suggest they could be title challengers.

"It's early December and there's a long way to go. But we are progressing," he told Sky Sports.

"Whether it's this season we get to the heights we want, I don't know. But we are moving in the right direction.

"When you bring in new players, have young players, you're trying to integrate them. I'm really pleased. It's work on the training ground and staff behind the scenes.

"At our level, at Chelsea, people will always question us. Our job is to not get caught up in the chat.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground. There's a long, long way to go. At the minute we're in a patch."

Chelsea's variety of goalscoring options is reflected by the fact 13 of their players have now found the net this season – four more than any other club.

Among them is Zouma, whose powerful header midway through the second half put Chelsea ahead on Saturday after Giroud cancelled out Patrick Bamford's early opener.

France defender Zouma has four goals in 10 Premier League games this season, as many as he managed in his first 141 games in the competition, while Pulisic became the latest Chelsea player to find the net when he slid in to divert Timo Werner's cross home late on.

Lampard acknowledged the importance he has placed on improving their attacking threat in different areas, and especially from dead-ball situations.

He added: "We have worked on his finishing from set-pieces, but there's something about the group at the moment. They're really knuckling down and Kurt is full of confidence.

"He thinks he will score. Set-pieces are huge, if you want to do anything in the Premier League you have to be good at set pieces."

Olivier Giroud's hot goalscoring form continued as Chelsea came from behind to claim a 3-1 win over Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday, sending the Blues top.

Former Chelsea player Patrick Bamford put Leeds ahead with their first shot of the game as Chelsea were punished on the counterattack.

Giroud, who scored all four of Chelsea's goals in a Champions League win over Sevilla during the week, equalised just before the half-hour with an instinctive close-range finish.

Chelsea went ahead when Kurt Zouma headed in from a corner and the hosts finished Leeds off in stoppage time thanks to Christian Pulisic.


Frank Lampard has his sights set on remaining Chelsea boss for "as long as possible" but he acknowledges the decision will be taken out of his hands if results suffer.

Lampard was appointed manager of the club he made 648 appearances for between 2001 and 2014 ahead of the 2019-20 campaign after only one year of management with Derby County in the Championship. 

He steered the Blues to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League and led them to the FA Cup final, where they lost to Arsenal. 

They have been quick out of the blocks this season and sit third in the Premier League having lost just one of their opening 10 games and qualified from their Champions League group with two games to spare.

However, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is not known for his patience with managers, Lampard becoming the club's 15th permanent or interim appointment since the Russian bought the club in 2003.

Lampard is only too aware that he is never more than a few bad results away from his position coming under threat, but he hopes to be given the chance to build something of substance at Stamford Bridge.

"I've got 18 months left [on his contract] and I feel, and I felt it when I came to the club, that there were lots of circumstances at the beginning that were going to make last year transitional, maybe slightly difficult," he told a media conference ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash with Leeds United on Saturday. 

"I thought it was a success. Now I feel like I'd love to be part of the long-term plan here.

"The signings we made in the summer, other than perhaps Thiago [Silva], were signings for now and the future; players who are going to progress and going to mature.

"Of course, I'd love to be part of that and, of course, that's the club's and the owner's decision first and foremost.

"I'm a lucky man to be managing the club I love, and it's my life. So, of course, I want to make a success of it and be here as long as I can.

"I would like to do this job as long as possible but I'm also very aware that it is results based.

"At the minute I think we're working towards something and people are getting very excited and mentioning us being in the title race this year.

"I always saw it as a longer plan than that. It might take until next year for us to really challenge because of the signings and because of the bedding-in process.

"What we're doing at the moment is getting people excited, but I know we need to be consistent over the course of the season."

Lampard's former Chelsea team-mate Branislav Ivanovic, who now plays for West Brom, has tipped the 42-year-old to take over as England manager one day. 

While Lampard admits he would be tempted by the prestigious role later in his career, his focus remains solely on Chelsea for the time being. 

"I appreciate Branislav's words," he added. "He's a good friend and I appreciate the positive wording. 

"It's certainly not anything that is on my short-term radar. I'm very patriotic, I loved playing for my country, but at the moment my focus is on doing the best thing here.

"I appreciate it and if there was ever an opportunity later on down the line, it's certainly something I would look at, but you should never get too far down the line in this job."

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