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N'Golo Kante fitness update provided as Graham Potter issues expected Chelsea return date

Sam Collins

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N'Golo Kante fitness update provided as Graham Potter issues expected Chelsea return date

Graham Potter has delivered a fitness update and issued a potential return date for N'Golo Kante ahead of Chelsea's Champions League game against AC Milan.

It has been a difficult start to the season for the Frenchman who has been heavily hindered by injury. The 31-year-old has featured just twice for Chelsea and is yet to appear under new head coach Potter.

He picked up the injury against Tottenham with just five minutes to go in the match that ended 2-2. The World Cup winner required on-field treatment and was eventually helped off the pitch after being unable to continue.

This happened on the August 14 so Kante has been out for nearly two months now.

N'Golo Kante in Premier League action against Tottenham Hotspur. (Alamy)
N'Golo Kante in Premier League action against Tottenham Hotspur. (Alamy)

It has been a turbulent beginning to the year for the Blues, with some poor performances and results.

The sacking of Thomas Tuchel came as a surprise but the west London side are hopeful of adjusting for the better under Potter.

The 47-year-old is so far unbeaten as boss, drawing 1-1 against Red Bull Salzburg in his first game in charge, and beating Crystal Palace 2-1 courtesy of a late winner from Conor Gallagher.

Conor Gallagher striking the ball against Crystal Palace. (Alamy)
Conor Gallagher striking the ball against Crystal Palace. (Alamy)

With a big game coming up against AC Milan on Wednesday night Potter spoke to the media at Stamford Bridge.

He was asked whether he has to be careful not to rush Kante back into the side too soon.

Potter responded: "It’s just a case of building him up. And it won’t be a case of when he is fit, he can play 90 minutes every three days.

"We have to be careful with how we build his minutes up and that is the next challenge.

"It is ok rehabilitating but it’s game time and how he gets game time in the Premier League. And that is bit by bit. We are under control of that and we will do our best.”

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He was also asked whether Chelsea can effectively play a back four without having N'Golo fit and in the midfield.

"It's hard to replace someone like NG – he is a world-class player – and any team that loses him will suffer a little bit." said Potter.

He continued: "But it’s up to other players to take the step up and find the solutions. We have a lot of games coming up, limited time on the training pitch which from a working perspective isn’t so straightforward.

"But if we look at the options we’ve got, even if there isn’t a direct replacement, there are other solutions in there so we have to find the right one.”

Potter will be hopeful to have Kante back at his disposal as soon as possible because he can play a vital role in big matches for the Blues.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Chelsea, NGolo Kante, Graham Potter

Sam Collins
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