After an early Premier League exit against Leicester, Chelsea and France are sweating on N’Golo Kante.
The 30-year-old, who was a key part of Thomas Tuchel’s successful turnaround at Chelsea, was replaced by Mateo Kovacic midway through the first half at Stamford Bridge, in a rematch of Saturday’s FA Cup final.
However, the early signs are promising, as Tuchel stated after the game that his midfielder was taken off as a precaution.
Still, with the Champions League final for club and Euro 2020 for country on the horizon, the two sides will be waiting with bated breath as his hamstrings are worked on in the coming days and weeks.
Tuchel told reporters, “N’Golo is not injured.” “He said he went out before an injury, and I understood him perfectly in French.”
“He felt his hamstrings and was worried that he would get injured if he continued to play.”
Any injury to the Frenchman would be a major setback for both Tuchel and Deschamps as they seek historic silverware in the coming months, with the former arguably more so.
Kante’s match-winning performances in the knockout stages have helped the ex-PSG manager reach his second consecutive Champions League final, and his name is likely to be the first on the teamsheet when they face Manchester City in Porto later this month if he is available.
Kante’s absence would be a hammer-blow to the Blues’ chances in a game where they will already be underdogs against a Premier League champion side chasing a maiden European crown – despite two victories against Pep Guardiola’s side in recent months.
His absence may not be as critical for Deschamps as it is for his club, but given that the 30-year-old played every game in Les Bleus’ 2018 World Cup triumph in Russia, it would still cause him problems as he tries to lead Les Bleus to consecutive major titles.