Thomas Tuchel gives update on N'Golo Kante after missing Norwich win

Tom Gott
N'Golo Kante was absent for the Norwich win
N'Golo Kante was absent for the Norwich win / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has played down any concerns over the fitness of midfielder N'Golo Kante, who missed the 7-0 mauling of Norwich with muscle fatigue.

It was revealed before the game that Kante had been complaining of a minor muscle problem, and while he was not exactly 'injured', Tuchel decided there was no point risking the Frenchman against the Premier League's bottom side.

The boss has now confirmed all that, reassuring fans that they can expect to see Kante back in action almost immediately.

"The game was too early," Tuchel said (via the club's official website). "He did the full training on Friday and after training, he said he feels his muscles a bit tight.

"He went to the physios for massages and for some treatment and he actually wanted to wait until Saturday in the morning to take the decision. I said no, it's such an early game tomorrow, the possibility that it will change is not so high.

"I said 'take your time', and it was simply one day too early. If the match would have been on Sunday he would have played. So he is fully available for Tuesday and for Newcastle."

Fortunately, Chelsea did not miss Kante's defensive prowess whatsoever as they ran riot against the Canaries, with Mason Mount's hat-trick stealing the show alongside goals from fellow Englishman Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James and Ben Chilwell.

There's a chance that Kante will return for Tuesday's Carabao Cup fourth-round tie against Southampton, but Tuchel may use that game to give some of his fringe players some extra minutes, with loanee Saul Niguez perhaps likely to get the nod instead.

However, should he remain healthy, Kante seems certain to feature when Chelsea travel to St James' Park to face Newcastle United on Saturday.

The Blues will be without both Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner for that game, while Christian Pulisic remains out, so Kai Havertz seems set to continue as a striker.