Frank Lampard admitted he had to have “tough” conversations with Callum Hudson-Odoi after axing the Chelsea winger.
Lampard will give Hudson-Odoi another chance in Seville on Wednesday night but has warned that the competition in the squad means he will have to get used to being left out.
England star Hudson-Odoi, 20, has had a stop-start year at Chelsea but appeared to be finding his way back to form last week as he scored in their Champions League win at Rennes.
But Hudson-Odoi did not even make Chelsea’s bench for Sunday’s draw with Tottenham and that has become a new reality for “four or five” regulars because they have such strength in depth.
Chelsea boss Lampard said: “It was tough and I have tough decisions when we have a fully fit squad like we do now.
"We have elite players who work hard through the week, they’re desperate to play for the club but I have to leave them out.
“I did speak to Callum personally because I want him to feel where he’s at at the minute which is making progression and he’s getting better.
"But there will be other times when others players have to sit out and the conversation will be with other players.
“So he’s back in contention, I want to see him keep that progression going and if there are times when he’s not starting or not in the squad, the main thing is that I want him is to stay positive and I suppose that is part of my job to have that communication level.
“His reaction to me saying that to him was great, his reaction since in training has been great and I’m sure he’ll show that again when he plays.”
Hudson-Odoi made a huge breakthrough at Chelsea but an Achilles injury plus being caught breaking lockdown rules pegged back his progress along with extra competition from Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic have limited his chances.
Bayern Munich are long term admirers but Lampard insists he cannot worry about the “noise” around players because it is impossible to keep everyone happy.
Lampard added: “For all these players we are talking about, we are talking about a squad where I have to leave out four or five players maybe per game and if I thought about every player and the risk then I would never make a decision, I wouldn’t be able to do the job.
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"There’s competition in that area, that’s the reality of playing for Chelsea.
"I’m not worried about the noise around it or the permeations of what leaving someone out of the squad might mean down the line.
“I said it before and I said it to the players at the start of the season, having the squad that we have, most Premier League teams have big squads.
“Tottenham, for instance, Gareth Bale on the bench, Dele Alli not there. It has to be a strength, not weakness.
"That has to be down to the group as a group and the strength of the players who are not playing.
“At the moment, I feel the group is really strong and is why players will get minutes that they deserve tomorrow.”
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