Football

Kante in line to return against Man United

CHELSEA MANCHESTER UNITED

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante is in the frame to return as the beleaguered Blues host Manchester United on Monday morning (Singapore time).

The Frenchman has been out since last month after injuring his hamstring on international duty. During his six-game absence, the Blues lost twice and conceded 11 goals.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said that Kante has been training this week.

Conte added: "He is progressing well. We have also tomorrow and then I take the best decision for him and the team.

"For sure, he is progressing well and I am pleased for this. We are talking about an important player."

Conte added that he could have risked Kante during their midweek Champions League loss to Roma, but opted to be patient instead.

"If I wanted to risk him (against Roma), I could have. I waited and find myself a lot of patience to have the best for him."

Kante's return is crucial for Chelsea, who have been haunted by their decision to allow another midfield enforcer, Nemanja Matic, to join Manchester United this season.

The departure of Matic, who has played a key role since joining Jose Mourinho's side, has been cited as a reason for the Blues' struggles this term.

Another reason is the hectic schedule of domestic and Champions League football this season, said midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who insisted that the players were not unhappy with Conte's training regime.

In an interview with Gary Lineker for BBC, Fabregas was asked if the players were unhappy because they were being asked to train too hard in a regimented fashion.

Fabregas replied: "No, no, not at all. The only thing we can say is last year there was no Champions League, and it is a real truth.

"But this year, because of the Champions League, we are not having that much time."

Mourinho, meanwhile, was grilled by a judge in Spain yesterday over accusations of a 3.3 million euro (S$5.2 million) tax fraud during his time at Real Madrid in 2011 and 2012.

After leaving the closed-door hearing in a Madrid court, Mourinho insisted he had paid everything he owed to the Spanish tax office when he left Spain in 2013. - WIRE SERVICES

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