Wednesday 23 May 2018

Kante given all clear for Palace clash after passing out

The France midfielder fainted last Friday but is in contention to play on Saturday.

N'Golo Kante is available for Chelsea's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday, head coach Antonio Conte says
N'Golo Kante is available for Chelsea's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday, head coach Antonio Conte says

By Matt McGeehan, Press Association Sport

Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has trained all week after passing out in the dressing room last Friday.

Blues head coach Antonio Conte says the France midfielder is in contention to play in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace after missing last Sunday’s loss at Manchester City as a precaution.

Kante was immediately tended to by doctors after fainting in the changing room following a training session in freezing temperatures in Surrey. And Conte insists there have been no ill-effects this week.

“N’Golo is fine,” Conte said.

“He trained the whole week. He’s in good form. He’s fine.

“Last week, on Friday, it was very cold. After the training session he passed out briefly in the dressing room.

“The doctor brought him to have many check-ups, to understand his physical condition. But it was all clear.

“I think that on Sunday he was well, but at the same time it was right not to take a risk, to give him the opportunity not to play and to rest. He’s OK. Every check-up is OK, it is perfect.”

Chelsea are fifth with nine games to go, five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham and seven adrift of third-placed Liverpool.

And Conte admits the Blues cannot afford to drop many points in the remaining games if they are to qualify for the Champions League.

“The teams ahead of us are going with great velocity,” Conte added.

“For this reason I think it’s important for us don’t lose points, don’t drop points, in every game.

“We must go (with) speed. We have to go.”

Despite next Wednesday’s Champions League clash at Barcelona, Conte insisted the Palace game has priority.

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Antonio Conte's Chelsea lost at Crystal Palace last October

Palace won the reverse fixture at Selhurst Park last October and Chelsea have been beaten in four of their last five Premier League games.

“When you lose many games in a row it’s not simple,” Conte added.

“(But) our confidence is normal.”

Conte must decide whether to play Alvaro Morata or Olivier Giroud up front, or to continue with Eden Hazard as a false nine in tactics which were criticised following the lacklustre loss at City.

“Sometimes the critics are constructive, sometimes (they) are rubbish,” he said.

“I think that we must have respect for the job of the other. At the end pundits are pundits. Managers are managers.”

John Terry, who left Chelsea last summer after 22 years, most of them as captain, was a visitor to the club’s Surrey training base on Thursday.

Chelsea posted a video of Terry on Twitter on Friday, but it is understood the defender, now at Aston Villa, is a regular visitor as his home is still nearby.

Conte praised Terry’s influence last season, despite his limited game time, and admitted he is missed this term.

He said: “For us it was a big loss. A big loss. I tried to keep him for another season, but he wanted to play. I understood this.”

Press Association

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