N’Golo Kante has returned to Chelsea training in the last couple of days, but Thomas Tuchel has also confirmed that the midfielder will not be available for Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Zenit St. Petersburg.
The 30-year-old picked up an ankle injury during the 1-1 draw with Liverpool last month and has since been absent for both France and Chelsea.
Apparently, the energetic midfielder has already been back in training since yesterday, but Tuchel is understandably still not sure about playing him against Zenit.
“N’Golo had two training sessions yesterday and today but the Champions League game comes a bit too early,” the Chelsea manager said during his press conference on Monday afternoon.
“We won’t take the risk now in this moment of the season.
“We decided to give him another load tomorrow in training then he will have a day off with all of us then he will re-join team training on Thursday, Friday and Saturday to be absolutely fit and ready for Tottenham.”
It could prove to be a wise decision considering the France international’s injury record in the last few seasons.
Despite having plenty of other midfield options, Kante’s absence is still a big loss for the team, as evident in the win over Aston Villa last Saturday.
Ross Barkley and Malang Sarr who have recently been added to both Chelsea’s Premier League and Champions League squad also took part in Monday’s training session.
Potential opportunity for Chilwell to fight for his spot
Barkley and Sarr, alongside several other players, including Ben Chilwell, are still looking to make their first appearance this season.
Chilwell, in particular, is “in the race” for his first start according to Tuchel, having lost his left wing-back spot to Marcos Alonso since the start of this season.
“We had some talks with Chilly about the situation,” Tuchel said about the Chilwell’s situation.
“He knows I would have done the same thing if it was the other way around – to trust him if he was here and showed personality and attitude like Marcos did.
“He’s in good shape so he can play any minute.”