Frank Lampard has full faith in Christian Pulisic becoming a key player for Chelsea this term, but insists the club and player must find a way to solve an ongoing hamstring issue.
The United States international missed the start of the season but was looking set for a run in the Chelsea side until he suffered a twinge in the warm-up before the October 31 match at Burnley.
A hamstring injury ended Pulisic's involvement in August's FA Cup final against Arsenal, after he scored the game's opening goal, and he continues to be troubled in that area and will be out for he trip to Newcastle United on Saturday.
"With Christian, we're still searching," said Lampard. "He's in a position at the moment where he's had a problematic injury. Everything about Christian and how he is around the training ground, and how he prepares and how much he wants to play, is perfect. We need to try to find the right balance between playing and resting.
"He's a young player still. It's not abnormal and we will find a solution. We're very much joined up in the idea of getting the best of Christian, to get him fit as much as we can."
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, meanwhile, has hit out at Miguel Almiron's agent – Daniel Campos – who claimed this week that his client would have left the club if not for the impact of COVID-19.
"His comments were outrageous, bordering on ridiculous. A two-bob agent who is so amateurish…why would you put your client in that situation?" Bruce said. "If it was Miguel knocking on my door then I would listen, But an agent probably trying to profit again after two years is hugely disrespectful to the club.
"Miguel is a great pro and a great lad but his agent leaves a lot to be desired."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Newcastle United – Miguel Almiron
After Bruce's stinging comments about his agent, Almiron must now focus on helping the Magpies get a result at St James' Park. The Paraguay international has been utilised in a more central role this season, and with Callum Wilson a doubt, will have to step up in attack.
Chelsea – Timo Werner
After a slow start at Chelsea, Werner has been involved in nine goals in his last seven appearances in all competitions, scoring in each of his last four. The last player to score in five consecutive appearances for the Blues was Didier Drogba in November 2009.
KEY OPTA FACTS
• Chelsea have won five of their last seven Premier League meetings with Newcastle (L2), though the Blues have only managed to keep one clean sheet in this run – a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge last season.
• Newcastle have won two of their last three Premier League home games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 11 at St James' Park (W2 D4 L5). The Magpies are looking to pick up consecutive home league wins for the first time since December 2019.
• No side has had fewer shots in the Premier League this season than Newcastle (64). However, the Magpies have scored 10 goals, giving them a shot conversion rate of 15.6 per cent - their highest on record in a single top-flight campaign (since 1997-98).
• Chelsea are the highest scorers in the Premier League so far this season with 20 goals. The Blues have also netted a league-high 14 times in the second half of matches.
• Werner could become just the fourth different German player to score in three consecutive Premier League matches, after Jurgen Klinsmann (3 runs), Dietmar Hamann (March 1999) and Leroy Sane (October 2017).
• In the two Premier League games in which he has started, Hakim Ziyech has been involved in 57 per cent of Chelsea's seven goals, scoring once and providing three assists.