Thomas Tuchel is happy with Christian Pulisic’s progress from injury, but the American is not yet back in training.
Pulisic picked up an ankle injury on international duty and was absent for the win over Tottenham on Sunday.
Chelsea face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup in midweek, but that game is likely to come too soon for the forward.
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However, he is making positive progress and Tuchel expects to have him at his disposal in the near future.
“I think for Christian the game against Aston Villa is maybe a bit too close,” Tuchel said. “I hope that I’m wrong but this is my impression.
“He’s not in training so far but let’s see tomorrow. Maybe if he had a good progression today, maybe it’s possible. It would be super nice for us to have him but for me it’s a bit doubtful.”
Edouard Mendy was on the bench for the win over Tottenham, with Kepa in goal, but Tuchel says it was a precaution as the goalkeeper picked up a knock on Champions League duty earlier in the week.
“We tried everything throughout the week and yesterday in training but it was so-so,” Tuchel said. “It comes from the last-minute kick against Zenit in the Champions League so it’s very painful and he felt it.
“He was not 100 percent comfortable to go for a full stretch or to land on it so we decided to go for 100 percent, which was Kepa, and have Edou with us to be supportive and to have a good energy.
I’m so happy that Kepa played a crucial role today to have a cleans heet because it’s what he deserved.
N’Golo Kante returned from injury to play a vital part as a second-half substitute in the win over Spurs.
The France star added dynamism to the midfield, and scored a deflected goal - with Tuchel thrilled with Kante’s performance.
“If you have N’Golo, you have something that everybody is looking for,” Tuchel said. “You have everything that you need in midfield – work-rate, intensity, ball wins, skilful play, off the ball and with the ball, and even a goal today!
“I see this every day in training and it’s hard to believe how good he is. He’s a unique player. We were strong in midfield together with Jorginho and Kovacic in the second half but N’Golo is N’Golo. He’s fantastic.”
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