Graham Potter N’Golo won’t rush to activate Kante chelsea While he continues to recover from the hamstring injury that has kept him out since August.
The midfielder is not in contention for a spot when the Blues face off. Borussia Dortmund in them Champions League On Tuesday’s final of 16 rematches, the manager confirmed that he participated in two full practice sessions with the first team.
Kante has been unavailable for Potter since his appointment in September and underwent surgery in October due to an injury he sustained seven months ago during Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham.
The team’s form has deteriorated badly in the absence of the most effective midfielder, and Saturday’s 1-0 win over Leeds was their third record in their last 15.
Ahead of Dortmund’s visit, which may yet play a role in defining a tough season for Chelsea, Potter talked about how Kante’s advancement and his soon-to-be return elevates the rest of the team.
“N’Golo is a complex one,” he said. “He’s been out for a long time. Full practice again, but then ‘how do you get him back on pace to play Champions League or Premier League football?’.
“He needs time with the group, we need some time for a full workout, then we need time to build up our minutes.
“He won’t be able to play 90 minutes soon, but it’s exciting for everyone that he’s training and getting closer to us.”
Chelsea were down 1-0 from their debut at Dortmund three weeks ago and need a win and progress to the quarter-finals to keep the only viable route open for them to return to next season’s competition.
They are down 11 points in the race for the top four of the Premier League, but were struck by the defeat at Signal Iduna Stadium and created many chances as they largely dominated the second-ranked side of the Bundesliga.
Edin Terzic’s team has won 10 consecutive wins in all competitions in its bid to win the premier league title since 2012, beating champions and leaders Bayern Munich by just a goal difference.
“From what we learned from the previous game, we’re facing the best opponent,” Potter said. “You can see their results in the Bundesliga. They are in great form. Winning 10 games all the time.
“They are doing very well. Attack, defend, good individuals, well bred. It’s a good challenge for us, but we’re excited and looking forward to it.
“In the current situation, we should always welcome pressure. Because that means you’re in a great position to fight for the last eight of the Champions League. It will be a special night. It was a special occasion at Dortmund and I’m sure it will be the same at Stamford Bridge.”
January loan Joao FelixThe player who came closest to scoring for the Blues when he hit the crossbar at Dortmund has said that his qualifying for next season’s games will not affect whether he stays at Stamford Bridge at the end of the summer. He is expected to return to Atlético Madrid at the end of the season.
Felix said: “I think no one knows the future whether I want to stay or not. “I just focused on the[Dortmund]game. We don’t know what will happen after that. The club is huge, incredible, everyone behind the club is so good. I’m happy being here.
“Playing in the Champions League is a competition that everyone wants to play. Now I’m focusing on tomorrow’s game, we have more games in the league to try to reach the Champions League. It’s not over.
“I think I needed[the loan]. When I left Atletico I said it was good for me and for them. I think it’s the perfect deal to try something different. I always try to do my best, sometimes it just doesn’t work. I needed to change to see if things would go differently. This credit is important to me.”