N’Golo Kanté has a chance of featuring in an actual game for the first time since late August when Chelsea take on Everton tomorrow at Stamford Bridge.
The good news was confirmed by Graham Potter in today’s pre-match press conference, noting that this would be the first time our talismanic midfielder was fit to feature during his tenure as head coach.
“N’Golo has a chance of being in the squad. It’s the first time [for me] so it’s fantastic.”
“Managers before me have spoken very highly about N’Golo because he is a top, top player. He has been a huge miss to us, that’s not to say other players haven’t given absolutely everything, they have. But N’Golo Kante is a top player.
“It’s great for us that he’s back, we need to be mindful of the fact that he’s had a long injury, we need to make the next steps to get him up to speed in the Premier League, which is what we will do. But it’s great to have him with us [and] once he is at his highest level he is a huge player for us.”
We will only need Kanté at this absolute best for the Champions League quarterfinals against Real Madrid in about a month’s time, so there’s no need to rush.
Same goes for other potentially key players like Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, and Thiago Silva, all of whom remain out — and in Mason’s case, apparently being withdrawn from England duty as well.
“Raheem has a problem with his hamstring. It’s not too serious but he’ll miss the game at the weekend and he’ll miss the international trip. It’s the same for Mason. He has been struggling a little bit with his pubic bone. He wasn’t 100% in the last game and still isn’t quite there. So he’ll miss the England camp. Thiago is still away. Azpi is still away.”
Injuries have been a constant concern all season, but the mood has changed over the past couple weeks, with three big wins on the bounce. Everton’s another eminently winnable matchup, even with Sean Dyche now in charge, so all focus on making it four in a row, especially as we then head into a two-week international break.
“After three wins, [life if a little bit better] of course. It’s always nice to win. Results give everybody belief and happiness. That is what we’re here for. We’re here to win.”
“There was a storm, absolutely, but we’ve come out of it with three wins. We need to carry it on. We’ve got a tough game against Everton. Sean Dyche has done a great job since he’s gone in. [They] play to their strengths, are incredibly motivated, and have clarity in all the phases. So we’re under no illusions, we know how difficult the game is. It’s a fantastic test for us at home in front of our supporters and off the back of three wins. We’ll have to play well.”
-Graham Potter; source: Football.London