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Graham Potter outlines fitness plan for Chelsea star ahead of Real Madrid clash



IMAGO / Sportimage

Graham Potter has confirmed Chelsea’s plan for N’Golo Kante during the international break as they look to get him back to full fitness.

The 31-year-old made his long-awaited return to the Chelsea matchday squad on Saturday for their 2-2 draw against Everton in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.

Kante made the bench but was an unused substitute as Ellis Simms snatched an 89th minute equaliser to claim a last-gasp point for the Toffees.

He hasn’t featured since August 14 against Tottenham Hotspur and has been sidelined for around seven months with a hamstring injury.

It was a big stride for Kante to make his return to the squad and now the next step on the agenda is for the midfielder to get some game time to build his match fitness.

Kante will remain at Cobham and train during most of the international break and Potter has outlined the plan the club has for him.

The Chelsea head coach revealed: “N’Golo’s due to carry on training Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with potentially a game to give him some minutes.”

A friendly is looking to be planned by the 47-year-old, which the club hopes to be an in-house game to ensure they can have as much control as possible.

He added: “We need to control it as much as we can and then I think we’ve got about four players (not on international duty), so it is what it is.

“We have to hope players come back injury free and that we use the break to refresh and prepare for a really hectic April.”

Potter is looking forward to having a break to recharge and re-energise ahead of the tricky April and May run-in, with games on the road against Real Madrid, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United awaiting them.

“I always say, these breaks, you can’t do anything about them,” continued Potter. “You just take them for what they are. It’s been an intense few weeks, so we’ll take the break. We’ve had a decent week. Today (Saturday) was a performance that was a positive one for us, but ultimately we’re frustrated to drop points.

“It’s an intense period coming up, April and May will be heavy. It’s important for me as the leader to gain some freshness and to recharge and to use the time.

“I’m probably going to close my eyes for a few hours, or try to. I’ll spend some time with the family and then we’ll see.”