N’Golo Kanté has missed five of the last six games in all competitions with a couple different injuries. Those hamstring and ankle ailments followed an entire summer of knee rehab, and a brief dalliance with a back problem as well. While most of those injuries have been minor individually, collectively they’ve presented a great big problem for the previously indestructible N’Golo.
Alas, he is human after all.
And because he’s human, we must be careful with him. He’s protected us, now we must protect him. Even if it does not benefit us in the short-term, forcing such creative midfield pivots as Jorginho and Ross Barkley, as seen in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Brighton.
Lampard, who had explained before the match that Kanté’s last-minute absence was precautionary, elaborated afterwards on his cautious approach in dealing with the situation.
“My feeling is that he has played a lot and that’s because he has been so successful and so important to the teams he has been in. At the minute, he has injuries. This little niggle he had is a small, small injury. We just need to get it right. We are just careful and it is my duty to work with him. The medical team are working so hard with him.
”I have been there as a player and, if you miss a pre-season through an injury in particular, then you are playing catch-up. At the moment he is playing catch-up and that’s no fault of his own. He has played four seasons now full-on, game after game with international tournaments. So, it is right to be a bit careful. Let’s be happy. We got a result here, we are doing okay. With N’Golo, when we do get him to where we want him to be, we will be stronger with him.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Goal
With Chelsea set for two away games, Lille on Wednesday and Southampton on Sunday, before the next two-week international break, Kanté could conceivably have up to three weeks to get fully rested and healthy. While Lampard previously sounded hopeful that we might have the all-important midfielder back for the all-important Champions League group stage match in a couple days, it sounds like we might truly be taking things very, very carefully indeed.
Get well soon, N’Golo!