Christian Pulisic Ruled Out with Injury for Chelsea vs. Manchester United

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2020

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Christian Pulisic of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Chelsea FC and Lille OSC at Stamford Bridge on December 10, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Frank Lampard has said Christian Pulisic will miss Chelsea's Premier League clash with Manchester United on Monday, but he revealed the forward is stepping up his recovery.

The United States international has been rehabilitating after missing six games with a muscle injury and has not featured since the 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion on January 1.

Lampard said in his pre-match press conference that the American is working back to full health along with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but the Blues' next game has come too soon for the pair:

"Christian trained with the under-23s today and will be there for a short period, so he won't be fit. Ruben won't be fit for this game but is getting closer and training a lot. He needs more match fitness, but it's great to have him nearly back."

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 09: Ruben Loftus-Cheek of Chelsea during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final Second Leg match between Chelsea and Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge on May 9, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Loftus-Cheek has been recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered last May in a friendly against New England Revolution.

Lampard also said he will have to wait to see if Tammy Abraham can start against the Red Devils after nursing an ankle injury.

The striker, who has developed into one of Chelsea's most important players this season, needed an injection to feature in the 2-2 draw at Leicester City on February 1, with Abraham substituted after 83 minutes.

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"Tammy is still feeling the effects," Lampard said. "We had to take him out of training a couple of times this week, but he trained today. I'm hoping he'll be fit."

The Chelsea boss also commented on goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga after the No. 1 was dropped by Lampard against Leicester in favour of Willy Caballero.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: Kepa Arrizabalaga of Chelsea ( back row, second from right) sits as an unused substitute after being dropped for  the Premier League match between Leicester City and Chelsea FC at The King Power Stadium on February 01, 20
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Lampard said there have been no issues with the stopper since he was relegated to the bench, and he's yet to decide if he will start against United:

"The reaction has been good as I would expect. I haven't had lots of conversations with him. It's a decision I will have to make.

"It doesn't matter when you came to the club, I don't take into account the fee. It's the training that counts. I have decided, and you'll find out.

"It wasn't about giving him a jolt. It was just a selection on that day. I want everyone's reaction spot on. I know how it will feel for him. I had it in my career, it is part and parcel. I am pleased with the reaction.

"I deal with the players as it feels right. I am open and straight with them."

Manchester United's Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) and Chelsea's English head coach Frank Lampard gesture during the English League Cup fourth round football match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in London on October 3
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Chelsea's form has been precarious during their attempts to stay in the top-four, but their rivals have also struggled with consistency throughout the campaign.

Lampard's men have won just four of their last 13 league games, including defeats to West Ham United, Bournemouth and Southampton during a miserable run. The Blues have earned only two points from a possible nine, and United will be desperate to close the gap after the winter break.

The Red Devils are six points behind Chelsea, and they ideally need a win at Stamford Bridge to close the gap on the UEFA Champions League spots.