CHELSEA coach Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that England midfielder Frank Lampard will miss today’s match against former club West Ham after failing to recover from hernia surgery in time.
Lampard’s absence is softened by the return of captain John Terry, who like Lampard, missed England’s Euro 2012 qualifying victories over Bulgaria and Switzerland.
Terry has managed to recover from the hamstring problem that forced him to pull out of the England squad.
“John is available to play tomorrow,” said Ancelotti. “Lampard needs to have more time to rest. He trained with us this week and has done very well, but he needs to have more time. Maybe he’ll be involved in the Champions League next week but not tomorrow.
“I think these players needed to have a rest because they had problems.”
England’s 4-0 success over Bulgaria was followed by a 3-1 away victory at Switzerland, prompting speculation over the international futures of both Chelsea absentees.
But Ancelotti does not agree the pair need to worry about being selected again by Fabio Capello.
“I think Lampard and Terry deserve to play in the national team. I think that, next time, they’ll be ready to play for the national team.”
Ancelotti also had some words of wisdom for Manchester United’s England striker Wayne Rooney – who is expected to be on the receiving end of fan abuse following revelations about his private life.
Terry endured the same treatment last season but the Italian coach believes the United star is capable of taking any abuse in his stride.
“A player who has this kind of problem has to stay focused on the match, on his behaviour on the pitch,” said Ancelotti. “If he does that it’s not a big problem. When you’re on the pitch, you can’t think about the behaviour of the fans.
“You have to play football and stay focused on what’s happening in the match. Everyone knows how John Terry played last year. Maybe it can be a good motivation if the opposing fans are against you. Rooney scored in the last England game. I think he reacted very well.”
Chelsea go to Upton Park on top of the table with 14 goals scored and none conceded.
The record is in stark contrast to their London rivals who have so far conceded nine goals in their opening three games and scored one goal from the penalty spot.
The poor run has left them rooted to the foot of the Barclays Premier League table and speculation growing over the future of new boss Avram Grant.
But Ancelotti expects the former Chelsea coach to remain calm and lift the Hammers up the table.
“It will be a tough game. West Ham are not in a good moment. They’ve lost three games. They didn’t have a good start to the season.
“Avram has good experience and knowledge about football. He’s able to manage the players. West Ham are a club with history and Avram can do a good job there.
Grant, meanwhile, has demanded patience from West Ham fans as he faces up to the daunting task of halting his team’s poor start, which has led to questions regarding his future at Upton Park.
Defeat against the champions would give Grant the unwanted tag of having guided the Hammers through their worst start to a season in the club’s history, but he is not a worried man.
“In football you always need patience,” the Israeli said. “I am a long-term person and if you see my clubs before – even at Portsmouth and Chelsea, you see developing teams, they develop every match and you will also see the same here.
“We need not to think about one week or two weeks but longer. The most important thing about the table is the end of the season, not now,” he added.
“The teams that are in the second or fourth place in the league will not be there and I can guarantee that some teams that are at the bottom of the league will not be there at the end and I’m sure we will be one of them.”
Reports that Grant had been given a three-match ultimatum were denied by the club this week but rumours about the manager’s future will continue to persist if West Ham fail to win any of their tricky upcoming fixtures against Chelsea, Stoke and Tottenham.
Grant rubbished suggestions he was under pressure and insisted he was still enjoying life at the club.
“I’m enjoying the challenge here,” said Grant.
“I am enjoying it because it is a big challenge a good club and our vision is good and if we do the things we want to do here over the next few years then West Ham will be a good team.”
While Grant plots how to haul West Ham off the foot of the table, he can only marvel at today’s opposition, who sit proudly at the top of the pile having recorded a perfect start to the season with three wins from three matches.
Grant, who spent eight months as Chelsea manager two years ago, rates the Blues as they best in the country but insists his team can get a result at Upton Park.
“They are the best team in England now,” he said. “They play the best football they have played together a long time.
“We are a new team that needs to develop but I think in football you cannot think in negatives.”
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