Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has been dealt a major blow to his preperations for the upcoming campaign, after Kante suffered a recurrence of a knee injury he picked up before the Europa League final last season.
Despite the midfielder undergoing rehab on his injury Lampard made the decision to take the France international on their pre-season tour of Japan.
Kante didn’t take part in the Blues’s 1-0 defeat against Kawasaki Frontale on Friday and was then sent home before the team took on Barcelona.
Chelsea went on to beat the Catalan giants 2-1 in the Saitama, 20 miles north of Tokyo and speaking after the victory Lampard defended his decision.
The former England midfield said he felt Kante’s rehab would be better conducted at the club’s training ground rather then what is available to the player while on tour.
“I sent him home a few days ago,” Lampard said.
“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.
“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.”
Chelsea kick off their season with a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on August 11 and Kante now faces a race against time to be ready for the showdown.
Lampard revealed the club’s medical staff feel Kante should be fine to play, and the Blues legend feels the player may actually benefit from having a longer break.
“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],” Lampard added.
“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.”
As for the tour of Japan, Lampard feels the journey to Asia has helped him gain a better understanding of his players abilities, given him the chance to hone his tactics and assess the fitness levels of his squad.
“It’s been a good tour and it’s always good to come to Japan,” he added.
“Most importantly it is work and both games have been good exercises for us. What I’ve learnt about the players is that they are a good group. I’m very happy.
“In terms of the workload, the players have to get used to it now. I’ve set the standard of how I want them to work
“We’ve had two difficult games in humidity. The tour has served its purpose.
“We need to be fit and ready for Manchester United, and the clock runs down pretty quickly at this stage.”