Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has explained his team selection for the Premier League match at Newcastle United.
Ross Barkley had performed well for the Blues in recent wins in the FA Cup over Nottingham Forest and in the league at home to Burnley last week, but Lampard has chosen to drop the midfielder to the bench.
N’Golo Kante is back in the line-up in place of Barkley, with the French World Cup winner having missed the win over Burnley due to a hamstring issue.
It wasn’t the first hamstring problem for the 29-year-old, who has only started 13 times this season for Chelsea in the Premier League.
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But his experience and style of play was cited by Lampard as the main reason for replacing Barkley, who the Blues’ boss also says should feel ‘disappointed’.
Asked if it was a delicate decision, Lampard told Sky Sports: “Probably delicate because of how Ross Barkley has played in the last two games. Ross should feel a little bit disappointed.
“With what N’Golo brings to the table, though, I thought it was the right decision for this game. But we need competition.”
On the threat of facing Newcastle, Lampard added: “They have threats in the forward areas.
“(Miguel) Almiron is in good form and I expect them to cause us some danger from an attacking perspective.”