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Thomas Tuchel forced N’Golo Kanté to take rest day after muscle tightness

Kanté missed Chelsea’s game this weekend

Chelsea FC v Malmo FF: Group H - UEFA Champions League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

N’Golo Kanté was an unexpected absence this past weekend, when he was not even named on the substitutes bench for Chelsea’s match against Norwich City. While he was clearly not needed as Chelsea made short work of the visitors, any suggestion of an injury concern or fitness issue would be most unwelcome.

Fortunately, as Thomas Tuchel explained afterwards, Kanté was taking a maintenance day, and not exactly of his own volition either.

“He did the full training on Friday and after training, he said he feels his muscles a bit tight. He went to the physios for massages and for some treatment and he actually wanted to wait until Saturday in the morning to take the decision. I said no, it’s such an early game tomorrow, the possibility that it will change is not so high.

“I said take your time and it was simply one day too early. If the match would have been on Sunday he would have played. So he is fully available for Tuesday and for Newcastle.”

-Thomas Tuchel; source: Chelsea FC

While some injuries are mostly unfortunate accidents — such as Romelu Lukaku’s twisted ankle — others can be avoided with proper workload and stress management. Sounds like that’s what we were doing with N’Golo this weekend, which is great to hear since one of the reasons he’s started picking up injuries more frequently over the past couple years is because he rarely got a rest for many years before then.