Frank Lampard is holding N'Golo Kante back after the Chelsea midfielder suffered another injury in the build-up to the 2-0 win over Brighton, but the Blues boss acknowledges it will be vital to have the France international back in the team.
Kante’s current hamstring complaint adds to a series of setbacks for the 28-year-old, who played through the pain of a knee injury in last season’s Europa League final win over Arsenal.
Though that starring performance made last term worthwhile for Chelsea, it has led to further complications this campaign after Kante returned to London early from the pre-season trip to Japan to undergo treatment on his knee.
He then picked up an ankle injury ahead of Chelsea's trip to Norwich in late August, which prompted Lampard to contact France coach Didier Deschamps to ensure Kante was rested over the last international break.
A tight hamstring ruled Kante out of the win over Brighton and Lampard revealed he is keen to get the former Leicester man’s fitness right.
Lampard told reporters at Stamford Bridge. "My feeling is that he has played a lot and that's because he has been so successful and so important to the teams he has been in. At the minute, he has injuries.
"This little niggle he had is a small, small injury. We just need to get it right. We are just careful and it is my duty to work with him. The medical team are working so hard with him.
"I have been there as a player and, if you miss a pre-season through an injury in particular, then you are playing catch-up. At the moment he is playing catch-up and that's no fault of his own. He has played four seasons now full-on, game after game with international tournaments.
"So, it is right to be a bit careful. Let's be happy. We got a result here, we are doing okay. With N'Golo, when we do get him to where we want him to be, we will be stronger with him."