LONDON // Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager, is hoping Frank Lampard will be back in action next week to help put the club's season back on track and keep him in a job.
Lampard has been out of action for three months after complication set in following what was believed to be a minor groin operation.
The England international has suffered several setbacks in his recovery. But after Saturday's 1-1 draw against Everton, Ancelotti said: "Lampard is back in training and I hope is ready for the game at Tottenham next week.
"Does he come straight back into the team? Of course he comes back into his position.
"There are many things we need to improve but, of course, when you are without a player of Lampard's quality for a prolonged length of time, any team is bound to miss him."
Ancelotti was furious with his team's display in the draw with Everton which meant Chelsea have slipped two points in arrears of Arsenal, the new leaders.
They have managed just five points from a possible 18.
Ancelotti read the riot act to his players after letting a lead slip against Everton.
And at a training session yesterday ahead of Wednesday's Champions League match against Marseille he reminded the squad, who have already qualified for the last 16: "We must do a lot better. We have lost focus and must regain it. We can't afford to smile right now."