Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that England midfielder Frank Lampard will miss tomorrow’s Champions League clash against Marseille at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard will also be absent from England’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley next month after Ancelotti insisted the player needs more time to recover from hernia surgery.
The 32-year-old midfielder has now been absent for a month and Ancelotti maintained he would not be in contention for a return to action until after the international break.
“Frank cannot play tomorrow,” said Ancelotti.
“We need to have more time than we expected for his rest. He will be ready for the next game after the international break.
“He has not played for us so he will not be able to play for the national team.”
Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the season against Manchester City thanks to a Carlos Tevez winner at Eastlands on Saturday but Ancelotti remains largely unconcerned.
Luckily, results elsewhere in the Premier League worked in Chelsea’s favour as the Blues still have a three-point lead at the top of the table.
“I was surprised by the result of Arsenal, they lost against West Brom at home,” conceded Ancelotti.
“It was a strange result. I said before Saturday that it would be very difficult to be unbeaten during the season because it is very competitive here.
“So for this reason, we are not so upset to lose our unbeaten record, but we have to look forward. It will not be the last time we lose a game.
“I don’t ask my players for a reaction. We have to play our football and pay attention. Marseille will look to get three points from this game because they lost the first one.
“Marseille are a good team. They play attacking football and they are quick.
“My players will know everything about our opponents but the main thing is our own game. We have to stay in focus. If we play at our best, we can win.”
Chelsea are also without the services of Salomon Kalou, Yossi Benayoun and the suspended Didier Drogba.
Marseille boss Didier Deschamps returns to his former club boosted by two league victories, but insists his side must be on top form if they are to come away with anything.
“Winning two games does not so much give us a guarantee but a calmness going into this game,” said Deschamps, whose side lost their opening game to Spartak Moscow. “It is a bigger task taking on a team like Chelsea.
“We have got to go into this game making no mistakes and playing at our top level.
“Chelsea have had a good start to the season but they have not played many sides from the upper echelons of the league.
“I did watch the game against Manchester City, who did a lot of good things that hopefully we can repeat.
“We need to close the space down and impose ourselves physically. These kind of games are settled in the finer details and let us hope it is settled in our favour.
“Chelsea at home in a European tie against most teams would be favourites. There are a lot of experienced heads in their team. They can cope with two defeats. But we are not here just to watch them play.”
Deschamps, who turned down the chance to join Liverpool in the summer, spent a year with Chelsea in 2000 – leaving the club on a high by winning the FA Cup.
But he accepts today’s Chelsea bears little resemblance to the one he knew.
“It is totally different to when I was here,” added Deschamps. “Roman Abramovich was not here during my time at the club, we had a different owner then.
“Roman has brought in lots of investment in terms of players and the training ground at Cobham, we did not have anything like that. All these things have added another dimension to the club. It has allowed them to take a seat at the top table of European football.”