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Kane and Son absences should be no excuse for Mourinho, says Lampard

The Spurs boss has been vocal about missing the two attacking stars, but his next opponent pointed out they have done without Kane before

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has played down Jose Mourinho’s injury complaints about Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, pointing out that a previous Tottenham boss fared all too well without the England dangerman.

Mourinho has described his side’s injury plight as the “worst in Europe for a specific position” with the pair thought to be set for long spells on the sideline.

Chelsea too have been hit by their worst injury period of the season, with N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi likely to miss out on Saturday as Lampard gears up to face his former Blues mentor.

Tammy Abraham has also been struggling and is training at 70 per cent, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek may make the bench after eight months out and Andreas Christensen could play in a protective mask after breaking his nose.

Amid the backdrop of his own injury issues, Lampard believes Mourinho’s side are no weaker ahead of their visit to Stamford Bridge.

“I think we all feel the same as managers,” Lampard told reporters. “When you have big players injured, you know how much you miss them. But they also have a big squad. As I said, we had five huge ones in pre-season and four or five at the moment.

“You will feel that and I understand his feelings because you want all your top players fit. But it doesn’t make me think they’re any weaker, whatever Jose says. I know we’ve got a tough team coming tomorrow.

“An incredible player like Harry Kane is a miss and now Son is a miss, but with Harry Kane, it always amazed me the stats when [Mauricio] Pochettino was the manager and Harry Kane was injured a few times.

“They remained a force because they had players that could fill in. When you are talking about players like Dele Alli, whose game is to arrive from slightly behind and break lines consistently, Lucas Moura is similar and he has qualities, [Steven] Bergwijn has come in and has those similar qualities.

“I have watched a lot of them recently and they are a threat. This is a London derby against Tottenham, I think whatever team they put out will always be a threat in this type of game.”

With Kante out injured, Lampard may turn to a midfield of Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho as he did in the 2-0 home loss to Manchester United on Monday.

Mount came on for Kante in the 12th minute but he has come in for criticism from sections of the club’s fan base after struggling to score in recent weeks. The 21-year-old has now gone 14 games without a goal after contributing six strikes earlier in the season.

Lampard has defended Mount’s finishing and insists that runs of poor form are normal for players of his age.

“I know Mason from working with him that he’s tough on himself,” Lampard added. “I know since the Tottenham game [where he performed well] that he will want to have more output in terms of assists and goals because that’s what he’s very capable of.

“He’s fine, he’s very aware of that. I have very honest conversations with Mason and he wants the best for himself and I see it out there every day. Even if those goals and assists aren’t quite coming, he will fight his way through it, no problem.

“Individually you suffer periods of form and as a young player, you have to understand even more and be more sensitive to the fact that can affect confidence because they’ve been thrust into the team this year and it’s new and the eyes of the world are on them, and that’s a big deal.

“It’s a test for the younger players and I think with the physical nature of the league over the year it was always going to come, we would have little dips, and how they come out of it would be the making of them.

“It’s always the same. It’s how they train, it’s how they work, it’s the focus that they have which will bring them through. I believe in all fo them, whether they’re in dips or not. I believe they’ll all be top players for this club but they have to keep pushing and they have to be strong in moments like this.”

Lampard has been lauded for giving debuts to eight academy players this season but in recent weeks he has used Mount and Fikayo Tomori more sparingly, while Abraham has struggled with his fitness.

The manager was also unable to add any players in the transfer market despite FIFA’s ban being lifted ahead of the transfer window in January.

One piece of good news, though, arrives in the shape of Loftus-Cheek, who will soon return to boost the squad – although Lampard is still unsure over whether he will feature against Spurs.

“He had a small issue and we felt it wasn’t right to risk him [for the recent Under-23s game against Arsenal],” he explained. “It was tiny, but it was one of those we wanted to control a bit more so we came away from that. He still needs match fitness.

“Putting him in the squad is a question of, ‘Can he make an impact if he has to come on?’ I can already see his impact and what he brings. I knew it already, but to see the level in training first-hand has been nice. Can he sustain that over 90 minutes at the moment? No. We’ll have to work towards that.”

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