Latest injury news ahead of the game?
We’re very happy that Tammy [Abraham] is very, very good, feels very good, and he’s free for training today at three o’clock and if things go well he’s in the squad.
Thiago will be out for the game, he’s not ready for the game.
And there’s some issues with the calf of Christian Pulisic, nothing big, just feels tight. He’s had a bit of soreness, so there’s a big question-mark for Christian.
Kai Havertz is back in training and can join us in Southampton.
How close is the contest between Kepa and Mendy for number one keeper?
Well I encouraged him [Kepa] to see it as another opportunity and to take it as a fresh start, and to see the possibilities for him in it, and this is what he did.
So he earned his right to play, earned his right to play another game, he had two clean sheets, and that’s the best a GK can have for his confidence.
And of course we see that, because everybody loves to play. This is important for us that the group of goalkeepers is strong together.
I feel a strong bond in them together, even though they are competitors.
They are a team within the team, and we need all of them ready because games are coming at the highest level every three to four days.
Timo Werner and Ralph Hasenhuttl go back, was the manager right in what he said of Werner’s best position?
I didn’t hear what he said, but everybody has the right of their own opinion.
I think that Timo had a very good start, very clinical and very efficient start at Chelsea under Frank [Lampard]. So I could not see any problem in my opinion.
It was even a big plus and it was a big reason for Timo to join the club, the connection to Frank. So I think that like every player a change of clubs is always a change of environment, culture, league, and it takes its time.
I can only speak now about what I feel of Timo, and I see him day by day gaining in confidence. And I saw the goal coming, because he earned it.
Maybe it’s just luck that we both come from Germany and he feels maybe the little percentages more confident than in the situations before.
But for me there was no doubt that Timo would come back from this situation, because he has the quality and it is the quality to play in more than one position.
Good start, but learn more about the team in the coming weeks with tough games?
Yeah but honestly, when we played it was a big, big game against Tottenham.
And the thing is that we do our stuff right, and that we are brave enough to play our game and to impose our style and our momentum onto opponents.
We want to play the same game no matter who’s on the other side.
Sometimes it feels super, super difficult to play Barnsley. On this day it was the hardest team to beat, because it’s always like this in football.
So the challenge now is to be ready tomorrow, and after tomorrow we will see what we do against Atletico, then Man U and Liverpool.
But it’s step by step and the thing is how good are we, how good are we to play and impose our principles, our style and to be the squad with the intensity and rhythm to put intensity on the pitch.
This is the challenge tomorrow, then the Champions League, then again in the league, and it’s all the time when you play that’s the biggest challenge.
So the focus is on Southampton and I truly believe that I learn a lot about my team every game no matter who’s on the other side, because we respect all opponents, in the moment of the game it’s the toughest opponent, and that’s it.
Because it is always like this in football. The challenge is to be ready for tomorrow and after tomorrow, we will see what we can do against Atletico, Man United and Liverpool. It is step-by-step.
It is always a test of how good we are at the moment when we play to impose our principles, style and to be the squad with intensity and rhythm to put intensity on the pitch. It is a challenge tomorrow and it is a challenge in the Champions League, again in the league. All the time when you play, that’s the biggest challenge.
The focus is on Southampton. I believe that I learn a lot about my team in every game no matter who is on the other side because I respect my opponents. In the moment of the game, the toughest opponent is the guy on the other side, that’s it.
Kepa can overtake Mendy for number one spot?
I don’t know.
Nothing has changed. Edou is the number one and he deserves to be the number one. It is a sensitive position where you need to be clear and you cannot hide. You cannot hide your opinion in press conferences or in the dressing room.
Things have to be clear and you cannot be afraid of it and we are not. Things have not changed. But, like I said, we need three strong goalkeepers and everybody to be ready because the challenge is high.
The goals to achieve are high in this club. We need everybody to be ready. Not just the goalkeeper but all 22 guys on the field to be ready now. That’s whatever they are needed for, if we need them for five minutes then they have to be ready to play those five minutes, from the beginning or half-time.
If you are not in the squad from a bad decision, maybe next time we need you. This is the topic for the next few weeks and this includes Kepa. I can only repeat myself, Kepa did two good matches with two clean sheets.
This is the best he can do for his confidence and it is also what we expect from him. It is the best performance but nothing has changed. Edou is still number one.
What have you learned in England?
I have experienced incredible work ethic from the players. They are hungry and eager to improve. Eager to compete as a team which is the most important. I feel them all together as a group.
We can totally rely on them to play our principles in the game and when we decide how to approach games. This is the most important thing. If we have less time on the training ground, we work in the video room on video sessions to prepare for the games. We use the games to improve and to get used to each other.
There are so many good behaviours, signals and good minutes in our games that this is a pleasure to work with and it is a very good level from where we want to improve. This is the challenge in top sports to improve every day.
To take each day carefully and appreciate every day on the training pitch or in the games and to use it for improvement. This is the feeling that I absolutely have and where I am 100 per cent involved and this makes me happy because this is why I am a coach.
Do you trust them already?
Of course, there is no reason not to trust them. They delivered from the first minute that we are here and, like I said, it is trust not only because of results but because how we interact and how they behave every day at Cobham on the training pitch.
Also, in situations under stress in the games. There is no reason to doubt them. From now on, we try to improve, push and guide them. I feel totally included in that process and a very strong bond between the players. It is a pleasure to be here and work with the guys.
Fikayo Tomori – Lampard had a long-term plan for him, is he in yours?
To be very, very honest, right here I did not spend too many minutes thinking about Tomori, not because I don’t like him and not that I don’t see potential but every minute here at Cobham is for the guys who are here.
It is tradition at Chelsea that many players are on loan, they get minutes somewhere else when they cannot make regular minutes here. This is good because it is always the target for me to have players that can make it in different circumstances, that can show their qualities in different cultures and clubs, this is always a good sign.
We will have this talk in the next weeks and months about the guys who are away on loan but of course I have a general impression of Tomori which means he has high, high potential but I am not into details right now.
This will come when it comes.
Chrisitan Pulisic – another injury, Lampard said concerns over injury and speculation over his future?
Clearly, yes. That is my point of view, clearly yes.
Chelsea bought Chrisitan for a reason, his quality and potential and it is our job to get the best out of him. He has proved in many weeks he has the level to eb a regular Chelsea player.
It is the challenge now to improve and hold his level and to maintain the level, keep improving.
We are not concerned or worried but the medical department is on that. We have little issues with the calf, he stopped training yesterday before it became an injury so I would not say it is an injury, it is risk management. And it relies on the history of injuries. We did not want to enter the same cycle.
The main thing for Chrisitan is to stay positive, keep his head up and be ready as he can have a big impact when he starts or off the bench with his intensity. There are absolutely no decisions made for summer there is simply not time for that.
Lack of minutes for Hakim Ziyech
It is my fault actually, not his, it is my hard decisions at the moment as well for Mason [Mount], Callum [Hudson-Odoi] and for Christian [Pulisic] sometimes in the half positions where we seem the strongest.
It is the same for Hakim at the moment and for some other players, there were hard decisions to make. It is never easy but it is a good thing, we have quality to make our decisions.
There are decisions for other players that means Hakim suffers, I can absolutely understand and agree with that so it is my responsibility and fault in this case that he cannot show more of his potential.
When I look at the schedule and rhythm for the next games I can be sure that we will need all of our players. No matter how hard items are for you personally I can’t say one bad thing Hakim, he had a good session yesterday and has shown he is ready.
When the moment comes we expect the best Hakim Ziyech. This is not easy, I can agree and understand but this is how it sometimes is during some moments at a club like chelsea with a squa that keeps winning.
Sometimes you have to wait, he is not the only guy to suffer from these decisions and tuigns we will turn around and if he takes care and shows he is ready when he is needed, things will turn around again I am sure.