Lampard challenges Batshuayi to step up in Abraham absence
Frank Lampard says Tammy Abraham's ankle injury has opened the door for Michy Batshuayi to step up and become Chelsea's first-choice striker.
The Blues have lost top scorer Abraham to an ankle injury and at his pre-match press conference on Friday, ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Hull, Lampard admitted the club are in the dark as to how long the England forward will be out for.
Abraham has made the lone striker’s role in Lampard team his own since being handed a chance at Stamford Bridge this season, scoring 15 times in 31 appearances.
The 22-year-old’s form has meant Batshuayi has taken a watching brief for most of the season, the majority of his 21 appearances coming from the bench.
The Belgium international has managed five goals and it had been reported he would be open to a move away from the Blues in January in order to get more game time.
The former Marseille man spent the second half of last season on loan at Crystal Palace and a return to Selhurst Park had been mooted.
However, the injury to Abraham and the fact Olivier Giroud is set to be sold this month have left Chelsea with little choice but to keep Batshuayi.
Lampard on the final week of the January transfer window: ‘It’s not the ideal window so it’s about getting the choice right of the player we can bring in seeing as what’s available. The club know my thoughts on it but we’ll have to see what happens.’#HULCHE
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 24, 2020
The 26-year-old will lead the line at Hull City on Saturday and Lampard says this could be the opportunity he has waited for when it comes to establishing himself in the Chelsea team.
“I’m sure he will say he hasn’t had that many opportunities that would be normal for a player that’s played as much as him this season,” said Lampard.
“But the reality of it is, when you get those opportunities, whether it’s ten minutes coming on to try and affect a game, or starts in whatever game they are, you need to try and absolutely make an impact.
“At times he’s made an impact. At other times not so much. The brutal reality is, I suppose Tammy’s had a really good season and his [Batshuayi’s] moments have probably not been as much as he would want.”
Lampard has previously stated that he would like to bring in another striker in January but could decide against that if Batshuayi proves his worth.
Chelsea are able to sign players once again this month after being barred from registering new players in the summer and have been linked with moves for Lyon striker Moussa Dembele and Paris Saint-Germain hitman Edinson Cavani.