Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has hinted that N’Golo Kante will return to action in Sunday’s key Premier League clash with Manchester United.
The Blues, who are currently fourth in the Premier League table, will welcome Jose Mourinho’s United team to Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Chelsea will enter the match off the back of a 3-0 defeat at Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday night, although they have won their last two in the league.
Frenchman Kante has not turned out for the champions since picking up a thigh problem during the recent international break, but has been tipped to return to the XI for the fixture with United.
Conte has claimed that he could have selected the former Leicester City midfielder against Bournemouth or Roma, but was keen to protect the long-term fitness of arguably the club’s most important player.
Conte told reporters:
“N’Golo is progressing well, we also have tomorrow and then I’ll take the best decision for him and the team. But for sure he’s progressing well and I’m very happy about this. We are talking about an important player.
“If I wanted to risk him I could have done it against Bournemouth or Roma. Instead I waited, I had a lot of patience to find the best way and it means if I decide to put him in the team and start the game he will be ready.”
Kante, who is valued at £50m by transfermarkt.co.uk, is expected to start in central midfield alongside Cesc Fabregas, with Pedro and Eden Hazard supporting Alvaro Morata in the final third of the field.