Frank Lampard has insisted he retains full faith in Fikayo Tomori after the Chelsea defender’s first appearance since February in the 2-0 loss to Liverpool.
Tomori came off the bench after Andreas Christensen’s red card for his first Blues outing in seven months on Sunday, as Sadio Mane’s brace sealed Liverpool’s Premier League win.
The England defender has been heavily linked with a loan move away from Chelsea this term, especially in light of Brazil stalwart Thiago Silva’s free transfer arrival from Paris St Germain.
Frank Lampard says he has full confidence in Fikayo Tomori after his appearance on Sunday
The 22-year-old featured for the first time in months as he was introduced in the second half
But Lampard selected Tomori ahead of Toni Rudiger for Chelsea’s bench on Sunday, and insisted that indicates his enduring trust in the 22-year-old.
‘I think Tomori did really well, he hasn’t played for a while and it shows his fitness with the rest of the squad, and I was delighted with him,’ said Lampard.
‘I hope he feels the trust in him. He showed that last year, starting last season’s pre-season as fifth centre-back in most people’s eyes and then playing 20-plus games for Chelsea, so I have got full confidence in him.’
Tomori started last season in fine form as he forced his major Chelsea breakthrough, but did not feature at all in the Blues’ first team after lockdown at the Premier League’s tail-end.
Tomori has to contend for a place with four other centre halves and has struggled for games
Brazil defender Silva’s arrival has increased speculation on a loan switch for Tomori, but Lampard’s selection decision on Sunday indicates moves to keep him on hand at Stamford Bridge this term.
Germany defender Rudiger found himself out of the squad entirely against Liverpool, having started in the 3-1 win at Brighton on Monday, but Lampard insisted his players will have to adjust to Chelsea’s bolstered squad.
‘At the moment I have five centre-backs at the club; I can’t pick a squad which has three of them on the bench,’ said Lampard.
‘That is the way it is. I have to pick a squad on the way they train, situations, and that is just how it is. That is a selection one today.’
Lampard said he does not have space for every centre back but praised the young defender
Christensen’s red card for a rugby tackle on Mane and subsequent suspension will force another defensive reshuffle in any case.
The Blues will host Barnsley in Carabao Cup action on Wednesday, where Lampard is likely to make wholesale changes and has already confirmed Willy Caballero will step in for the struggling Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal.
Wednesday’s encounter could still come too soon for new recruits Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and Silva, while Christian Pulisic continues to nurse the after-effects of a hamstring issue.