A squad of 22 players landed safely in Milan this evening, ahead of tomorrow night’s match against AC Milan. Three players were left back in London, one expected in Wesley Fofana, one surprising in Hakim Ziyech, and one increasingly frustrating, in N’Golo Kanté, who has suffered a setback in his recovery from his hamstring problem.
“Hakim is ill, and N’Golo we’re just waiting on. He had a reaction in training. So we’re just waiting for the news of that. Hakim’s got a sore throat, so that’s why he didn’t travel. [Kanté’s setback] is not ideal, and it is disappointing for him and us. So we have to wait and see the extent of it and go from there.”
So that’s not great, though Potter’s had to make do without Kanté so far in his Chelsea tenure, and hopefully we can continue to do so successfully. Thankfully everyone else is available and many on a few days’ extra rest after the weekend’s squad rotation. Thiago Silva, who (as it turned out later) had been battling an illness last week, is fully fit as well.
“[Thiago] was okay when we played AC Milan, but he just got a little bit worse as the week went on. In the end, because there were only two days between the games, it makes sense to play him again. But he’s recovered well.”
“The fact we could rotate a few has probably helped us in terms of availability for this game and, hopefully, a bit of freshness. We’re going to need that because it’s going to be a physically demanding game.”
Beating a team twice in seven days is not an easy task, especially a good team like the reigning Italian champions. Milan took it on the chin last week, but responded with an excellent 2-0 win against Juventus over the weekend, and will be ready to exact their revenge on us as well.
“[Another statement win] that’s our challenge. That’s what we have to try to do. [But] it will be a completely different game. AC Milan will try to use the home advantage as we did last week. It is two good teams, two evenly-matched teams. So it will be a fantastic game, and I’m looking forward to it.”
“[Last week] was a good week, but it was only a week. [We] are expecting a really tough game, AC Milan have a lot of good players and a strong team.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London
This game may not be a must-win last week’s, but it’s pretty much a must-not-lose. We can certainly expect Milan to play better this time around, so we’ll have to raise our game as well.