Football

Chelsea's injury woes mount with latest Kante blow

CRYSTAL PALACE CHELSEA

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says midfielder N'Golo Kante will be sidelined for three weeks after suffering a hamstring injury on international duty.

Kante was forced off in the first half of France's World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria last weekend and Conte expects him to be out for the rest of this month.

"Kante is going to do another scan next week to check if his situation is improving. From the previous scan, maybe he will be out for around 20 or 21 days," Conte said yesterday.

Kante, who won the PFA Player of the Year award last season, will miss Chelsea's Premier League trip to Crystal Palace tonight and could be out for another five fixtures this month.

That would include two Champions League dates with Roma, Premier League matches against Watford and Bournemouth and a League Cup tie against Everton.

Conte admitted that Kante's absence is a big blow as Chelsea head into a busy period, especially as Danny Drinkwater, signed from Leicester in August, is also injured at present.

"In Kante's situation, you have to have another scan to understand the situation very well," Conte said.

"He is a big loss for us because we know very well the importance of Kante to our team and we don't have another player with his characteristics.

"Danny is progressing well, but is not ready yet. We must have patience with his calf problem. We may have to adapt some defenders into midfielders."

Injured striker Alvaro Morata didn't play for Spain over the last fortnight, but Conte hopes he will return to face Roma in the Champions League next Wednesday. - AFP

eplCHELSEA (EPL)Antonio Conte