The long-term fitness of Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic remains a concern as Frank Lampard continues to manage his game time.
The American’s appearances have been sporadic this season since a hamstring injury forced him off during the FA Cup final in August.
Pulisic made his latest return from injury last weekend, scoring in the 3-1 win over Leeds, but did not feature in midweek for the final Champions League group game with FK Krsasnador.
Lampard declared the 22-year-old fit and available for Saturday’s trip to Everton, but admitted the problem may not have fully gone away.
The Blues boss explained that Pulisic had “a tiny bit of awareness” of his hamstring issues following the Leeds win and decided not to run the risk of another long-term absence for the sake of a dead rubber.
“With Christian it’s a work in progress,” Lampard said at a press conference.
“I don’t want to call this an injury. Had the midweek game been a different type of game it may have been one where I would have used him.”
The cup final defeat to Arsenal has been a microcosm of his season, instrumental in Chelsea’s strong start and scoring the opener, only to see his starring role cut short by injury.
“We know his abilities, Lampard added.
“He showed them when he came on against Leeds last week. I just have to find a way to get the best out of him regularly and consistently.”