LONDON – Chelsea’s new central defender Thiago Silva will return to the side for Saturday’s Premier League visit to Burnley having been rested in their Champions League win over FK Krasnodar in midweek, manager Frank Lampard said on Thursday.
Brazilian Silva joined Chelsea on a free transfer from Paris St Germain in the close season, and Lampard wants to carefully manage the amount of time the 36-year-old plays each week.
“Thiago is fit. Taking him out of Russia was a maintenance issue,” Lampard told reporters on Thursday.
“He could have played if he had to but we had to put it in context of what is ahead of us.
“I’m making sure we get the best out of him towards the end of the season.”
Lampard says ‘it made sense’ to leave Thiago Silva at home to help with managing his fitness over the course of a busy season. The boss adds it was useful to give Toni Rudiger, who played well, some game time. Competition in defence remains important to Lampard.#BURCHE
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 29, 2020
Chelsea’s Spanish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is progressing in his recovery from a shoulder injury and, while there are no new injuries in the squad, the players are slightly fatigued after their trip to Russia, Lampard added.
The 42-year-old coach also praised winger Hakim Ziyech after the Moroccan international bagged his first goal for the London club and Lampard said he would keep rotating his squad to balance the workload and help his new signings settle.
“Hakim was very good last night, a big plus,” he said. “The other players, particularly those in Europe, are finding the schedule heavy.
“We need options. We’re also searching for relationships as newer players are learning about each other and how we play. There will be rotation at times. We need everybody.”
Chelsea are 10th in the Premier League with nine points from six games ahead of their trip to third-bottom Burnley.