Frank Lampard says he is “hopeful” Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante will return to full fitness for the start of the new season.
The Frenchman travelled back to London last week from the Blues’ pre-season trip to Japan in order to continue his rehabilitation for an injury connected to the knee problem he sustained at the end of last season .
Speaking after Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Barcelona, Lampard explained the reasoning behind Kante’s withdrawal from the tour.
“I sent him home a few days ago. Even though I said how good the trip has been for someone who is in their rehab, I think it has been more beneficial for him to be at Cobham with the facilities we have there,” Lampard said in his post-match press conference.
“It’s not a big backwards step that has been taken. He’s improving and hopefully by the time we get back and start training towards the weekend he will be in a position to pretty much join in with us.”
The Chelsea head coach remains optimistic that Kante will be available for selection in time for their first Premier League game of the season away to Manchester United on August 11.
“I hope so. I don’t like to get ahead of myself because he has not fully trained yet, but the doctors are telling me it [should be fine].
“It wasn’t being conservative with him, it was more to have him do the best possible work.
“I am hopeful he will be ready for the start of the season and maybe it’s a [good] break for a player who has played so many games over the past few years at such a level in terms of output and energy.”
Chelsea saw off a Barcelona side made up of a mixture of experienced and B-team players, with new signings Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie De Jong both playing some part for the Spanish champions.
Goals from Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley were enough to seal victory, with Ivan Rakitic scoring a fine consolation strike for Barcelona in the closing stages.