Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has revealed he will not rush N’Golo Kante back from a hamstring injury despite the Blues’ vital meeting with Lille.
Defeat to Valencia in their opening group stage match has put Chelsea on the back foot in the Champions League, meaning a positive result against the Ligue 1 outfit is vital.
But Lampard may be without the services of Kante for the trip to France as the star midfielder continues to struggle with a hamstring problem.
After Kante missed the 2-0 win over Brighton on Sunday, Lampard said: “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.
“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.”
Lampard’s comments suggest Kante will not be risked against Lille, with Mateo Kovacic expected to come back into the side after being rested at the weekend.
Mason Mount could also drop back into midfield alongside Jorginho at the expense of Ross Barkley but Willian is expected to retain his spot in support of Tammy Abraham.
Pedro also started against the Seagulls and will hope to feature again but the Spaniard faces competition from Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi, with the latter impressing off the bench on Saturday.
Antonio Rudiger is still sidelined while Kurt Zouma remains doubtful so Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori will continue in central defence.
Marcos Alonso will deputise for the injured Emerson Palmieri at left-back while Olivier Giroud is working his way back from illness and Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a long-term absentee.
Chelsea predicted line-up vs Lille – Champions League
(4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Tomori, Alonso; Jorginho, Kovacic, Mount; Willian, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham