late decision will tonight be made on N’Golo Kante’s involvement for Chelsea in their Champions League quarter-final second-leg tie against FC Porto in Seville.
The midfielder has made back-to-back substitute appearances since recovering from hamstring tear – but Thomas Tuchel does not want to take any risks ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City and a hectic run-in to the end of the season.
Kante has already returned quicker than expected after suffering injury while on international duty with France. And Tuchel is undecided as to whether it is too early to play him from the start when Chelsea look to book their place in the last four of the Champions League.
Ahead the game, which Chelsea lead 2-0 after the first leg, Tuchel said: “I was unbelievably happy when he told me that he would travel with us last week to Sevilla because I didn’t expect that.
“The plan was for him to arrive against Crystal Palace. So he arrived early, which was amazing, and he was confident to go on the pitch and he was strong to help us in the last 20 minutes with all his quality.
“The downside of this wonderful decision was that he lost a bit of sleep after that with travel issues back from Seville, that he lost more workload in training because he was sitting on the bench playing only 20 minutes. The next day he suffered from travelling because he could not train like he normally would.
“That was the downside and we decided again to bring him from the bench against Palace. I will take the decision tomorrow morning about central midfield.
“It’s hard to imagine a game like this without energy and at the same time we really need to be absolutely careful about him, be certain that we don’t take risks with his healthy and injury situation.”
Chelsea predicted XI (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kante, Chilwell; Mount, Pulisic; Havertz.