(Reuters) – Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has suffered an ankle injury and is a doubt for Saturday’s Premier League trip to Norwich City, manager Frank Lampard has said.
Kante’s unavailability could be a significant blow to the London side, who have struggled defensively and already conceded five goals in their opening two league matches of the season.
“Kante has got an injury, so we will assess that over 24 hours. It is an ankle strain,” Lampard told a news conference on Friday.
Chelsea will be without first-choice central defender Antonio Rudiger, who has been on the sidelines since suffering a knee injury at the end of last season.
“Rudiger not fit yet, hopefully next week,” Lampard added.
“Pedro missed open training only because he contributed a lot over three weeks. That was just a precaution.”
Teenage sensation Callum Hudson-Odoi, who ruptured his Achilles’ tendon in April, is edging closer to full fitness and could return to the matchday squad after the international break next month.
“He is training, looking bright and sharp,” Lampard said. “But we want to protect him as he has had a long time out.”
Having scored just one goal in the league so far, Lampard urged his attackers to be more clinical in front of goal and wants Michy Batshuayi in particular to step up.
Batshuayi has not featured in the opening two matches, in which Chelsea have collected one point, but played for the under-23 side in midweek and remains an integral part of plans for the season.
“It was a good performance and he got what he needed out of the game. He worked hard,” Lampard said.
“We need Michy, we need the competition for up front. Hopefully if they can continue.
“If we had been more clinical we might have had three wins, that is the challenge for us.”
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)