Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante has suffered a muscle injury on international duty with France, making him a doubt for the Blues' fixture against Crystal Palace next weekend. The 26-year-old was replaced by Adrien Rabiot in the first half, putting further pressure on manager Antonio Conte, who has already lost Alvaro Morata to a hamstring injury.
France went on to win the game against Bulgaria owing to a goal by midfielder Blaise Matuidi but Kante's absence will be a major blow to the reigning Premier League champions, who are currently six points adrift of the Manchester clubs. France national team manager Didier Deschamps confirmed the injury and ruled him out of Tuesday's (10 October) showdown against Belarus.
"Kante came out with a muscle problem, behind a thigh, he will not be there Tuesday ," Deschamps told L'Equipe.
Chelsea are already without Alvaro Morata after the Spaniard suffered a hamstring injury against Manchester City but received some encouragement after the striker hinted that he may return earlier than expected. Initial prognosis suggested that he had suffered a grade two hamstring strain that was expected to keep him out for at least six weeks.
Morata was unwilling to give up and suggested via a post on his official Facebook page that he was targeting a return to action for Chelsea's game against Palace. The Spain international has given further proof that his injury is not as bad as first feared as he posted a video of him cycling back at Chelsea's Cobham training complex on Instagram. The former Real Madrid striker has hit the ground running since his move to England this summer and has scored six goals in seven Premier League games thus far
Meanwhile, Kante's absence will allow Tiemoue Bakayoko to put a marker for himself in the team, with Danny Drinkwater still unavailable through injury. The former Leicester City midfielder, who signed for Chelsea in the summer, is yet to kick a single ball so far for the Blues.