Frank Lampard left people guessing when he stated that he pretty much knew who would be in his starting eleven for Chelsea’s trip to Old Trafford as they face off against Manchester United on the opening weekend of the Premier League.
Chelsea's pre-season tour has now concluded with four wins from their seven fixtures, including an impressive victory over La Liga champions Barcelona.
Lampard looks ahead
Following Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday, Lampard wasted no time in looking ahead to his expedition to Manchester.
He told the Chelsea website, "I more or less know my team selection but it is a long week to come and players have to train every day to get themselves in the team, so the door isn’t shut on that."
The Bundesliga club took a two-goal lead into half time, before a pair of penalties from Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley evened the eventual result, causing a mixed reaction from the manager with the weekend's match in mind.
"I have a good feeling after Saturday’s game. I didn’t like the first half of course but the reaction we showed in the second half, the chances we created, we should have won comfortably."
"It was a nice way to finish pre-season but we still need to stay focused throughout this week because Manchester United in the Premier League is a different animal to a pre-season friendly."
Frenchman forced to miss out?
One player who Chelsea fans will be desperate to see in the team is N'Golo Kante, but this may not necessarily be the case considering his recent injury problems.
The World Cup winner has been suffering from a knee problem he picked up during Chelsea's Europa League final success and had not featured in pre-season up until the final 20 minutes against Gladbach.
And Lampard admitted it may be too soon to throw Kante straight back fully into action, potentially running the risk of adding further damage to one of his most valuable assets.
He said: "Who knows if he can be ready for next week or not, we will work hard for that but we just have to be careful as he played so many games over the last three seasons, you don’t want to rush him back if it is going to be a negative but we will do our best to get him back."
Kante made 52 appearances last season for Chelsea, adding a further 88 in his two previous spells in England with Leicester and the Blues, vital in successive Premier League title triumphs. With very little room for rest, Lampard was keen to ease the midfielder back to operational status.
"It was to give him the feeling of some match time because he has not been able to have that yet," said Lampard after Kante's return to the side.
"It was an awkward injury and I want him to feel it [time on the pitch] and us to see it and you can’t replicate it quite unless you do it. It was a good opportunity for him to do that and we will work hard on getting him fit."
English lads in contention
Whilst one talent looks set to sit on the side-lines, another has come to the forefront of everyone's attention in the last month.
Mason Mount returned to the club he joined as a nine-year-old, following a fine year with Derby County alongside Lampard, and continued his development in pre-season, gaining glowing compliments from his mentor.
"He [Mount] has done a lot coming back here," said Lampard, alluding to Mount re-joining Chelsea from the Rams and the impact he has made in such a short space of time.
"I worked with him last year and I am really happy with how he is training, with how he is playing, with how he has improved, his status within the group. The players recognise quality instantly but they also recognise work rate and character and Mason has all of those and shown that."
Mount's many top performances have put him in strong contention to make his Premier League debut against United, handing Lampard a luxury dilemma of whose spot he is potentially taking.
Barkley, who looked back to his best, is one of several who may unfortunately fall down the pecking order, prompting Lampard to say: "He [Mount] has given me a problem because Ross Barkley has also had a good pre-season and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be back later on.
"It is good because they are adaptable, it does not have to be one for one, they can play a variety of positions among themselves and I could not ask for more than Mason has done."