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PREMIER LEAGUE

Huge injury boosts for Chelsea ahead of Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid

A host of Blues players are set to return to action ahead of the first leg against Los Blancos at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

Londres (Inglaterra)
Graham Potter, entrenador del Chelsea, celebra una victoria.
Neil HallEFE

We still have to wait a little until Chelsea go head-to-head with Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, which will take place on Wednesday 12 April (the second will follow on Tuesday 18 April). Manager Graham Potter has, however, given strong indications as to which of his injured players will be forced to sit out the clash and a raft of others who will be fit to play.

Which Chelsea players are still out injured?

In his pre-match press conference before the Blues’ Premier League game against Aston Villa on Saturday, the former Brighton boss gave an update of the conditions on several of his stars: “Thiago (Silva) and (César) Azpilicueta are still out. Raheem (Sterling) is on his way back. He will miss tomorrow’s game (against Villa), but I think he has a better chance of being available for Tuesday (against Liverpool).” Chelsea will take on the Reds next midweek, the second of six matches they will play in 18 days.

Lots of good news for Potter ahead of Real Madrid clash

Also ahead of the game against Unai Emery’s side, the Potter stated that “Wesley (Fofana) won’t play because of a hamstring issue, but he has a chance of being involved on Tuesday. Christian Pulisic came back from international duty with a bad cold, so he’s one we have to check”.

Two other players had also been struggling with health and fitness issues over the break but now appear to be over them: “Kai (Havertz) had a fever, but he has already recovered and trained for the last two days. Reece (James) too. He has also trained with us the last two days, so if he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, he should be available.” The full-back was forced to miss England’s second Euro 2024 qualifying match against Ukraine because of a hamstring problem.

France midfielder Kanté set to make long-awaited return

France international midfielder N’Golo Kanté has also given Potter and Chelsea a huge boost, especially with the Champions League clash in Madrid just around the corner. How much he plays over the next few weeks, however, seems to be up in the air: “We must manage the next stage of his recovery carefully because he’s been out for a long time. He needs game time and minutes in the Premier League. He’s been training well and played in a behind-closed-door game. He’s available and will be in the squad. I’m pretty sure he’ll be on the field tomorrow at some point.”

Potter praise for Liverpool-linked Mount

Potter also spoke in detail about Mason Mount, who was forced to pull out of the England squad having been called up by Gareth Southgate: “He has trained and is available, probably not from the start but he’ll be in the squad.” The Chelsea boss was full of praise for the attitude shown by the midfielder, who hasn’t featured since 28 February because of a bruised pelvis and has been linked with moves to both Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

“It’s been tough for him. He’s had some niggling injuries, and noise and speculation off the pitch. But he’s a top professional, and a fantastic lad.

“How he’s acted with me, how he’s acted with the team, how he’s acted around us has been absolutely top. That’s credit to him because sometimes in your career things are difficult, they’re not quite how you’d like them to be. Then you have to act well and conduct yourself in a good way, and that’s exactly what he’s done”, concluded Potter.