Kylian Mbappe suffering a late head injury marred France's Euro 2024 victory over Austria as Didier Deschamps was left concerned about the Les Bleus star.

The Real Madrid-bound attacker sustained a blow to his nose after an aerial challenge with Austria's Kevin Danso before Mbappe was withdrawn on Monday.

France held on for a 1-0 victory in Dusseldorf to move level with fellow Group D leaders Netherlands, but Deschamps will have to sweat over Mbappe's fitness before facing Ronald Koeman's men on Friday.

"[His] nose is not good at all," the France head coach, who hit 100 wins in charge of his country with the victory over Ralf Rangnick's side, told reporters.

"Even if it's just the nose, it's the big negative point for us tonight."

Mbappe missed a gilt-edged opportunity in the second half as his wait for a European Championship goal continued.

The former Paris Saint-Germain man remains without a goal from a total of 18 shots in the tournament, while he has registered 12 strikes from 39 attempts at the World Cup.

Mbappe played the cross in for Max Wober's decisive first-half own-goal, however, as the centre-back's inadvertent error proved the difference in the pair's tournament opener.

France are the first European side at major tournaments (World Cup/Euros) to benefit from 10 own-goals, four more than any other side – Germany are the next best on six.

Deschamps was still satisfied with Les Bleus' work, though acknowledged their failure in front of goal.

"Happy with what the players did even if we missed opportunities to double the tally," he added. "It was not perfect but we were solid.

"We could have been more efficient offensively but it's good to start with a win.

"There's quality and talent but being solid and working together is also important. We're not going to be over-confident, but it's a good start."

N'Golo Kante was named as the Player of the Match after his efficient display in midfield, having only returned to the international setup for this tournament after a two-year absence.

No France player made more successful tackles than Kante's two (level with Jules Kounde), while the midfielder's pair of interceptions marked the most for Les Bleus.

"Everything was not perfect but we have the result we wanted, this is a good start," Kante said. "There are solid foundations, we have to be more efficient.

"It makes me happy to be back. Things have changed, makes it feels good to get back into this jersey."

The defeat ended a run of seven games without a loss for Austria in all competitions (W6 D1), while it was only their second reverse in their last 17 matches (W12 D3).

Yet former Manchester United boss Rangnick refused to point the blame at any of Austria's players.

"We are all very disappointed... we allowed France to go ahead, they didn't shoot their goal, it was an unlucky own goal by us," Rangnick said.

"I think no one can accuse the team of not being engaged enough, not running enough. They gave their everything.

"They didn't always make the right decisions with the ball. But it isn't easy, the French were aggressive, and played compactly and that wasn't a surprise."

France are preparing to open their Euro 2024 campaign against Austria on Monday, and Les Bleus cannot wait to welcome back a familiar face in N'Golo Kante.

The former Chelsea man has been hampered by hamstring issues before requiring surgery, while his move to Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad saw Kante dropped by Didier Deschamps.

Diminutive midfielder Kante had not appeared in international football over the last two years but made his return to Les Bleus' squad for the tournament in Germany.

Calling upon years of trophy-winning experience in the middle, Kante's France team-mates have been impressed with the 33-year-old's efforts in warm-up friendlies against Luxembourg and Canada.

"I had the impression that there were three of him," French forward Marcus Thurman joked at a press conference on Saturday.

"There's no time to play in training any more. As soon as we have him on our team, we win. He has reminded us in a week why he was one of the greatest midfielders in Europe."

Olivier Giroud echoed a similar sentiment when praising the two-time Premier League champion on Friday.

"He has not changed," veteran Giroud said. "He is the same player I have known for years in the national team and at Chelsea. He is everywhere. It's great to have him with us."

The 55-cap international appears set to start when France open their Group D campaign against Austria in Dusseldorf, if Deschamps' high praise last week is anything to go by.

"For those who had doubts about his abilities and the intensity of play, he is still at the same level," said Deschamps after Kante's surprise recall.

"Even though he hasn't been here for a while, he's not out of place."

N'Golo Kante has been named as a surprise inclusion in France's squad for Euro 2024.

Kante has not played for Les Bleus since 2022, but despite the long exodus from the squad, the Al Ittihad midfielder has been named in head coach Didier Deschamps' 26-man squad for the upcoming tournament in Germany.

The squad is headlined by Kylian Mbappe, who has plied his trade for Paris Saint-Germain since 2017 but looks set to move to Real Madrid in the upcoming window. Mbappe's PSG team-mate Bradley Barcola makes the squad for the first time.

Also making the journey to Germany will be Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and William Saliba, though Bayern Munich's Lucas Hernandez misses out through injury.

Among the notable exclusions are Chelsea's Christopher Nkunku and Crystal Palace's Michael Olise, who both miss out despite recently returning to fitness in the Premier League.

France will play two warm-up friendlies against Luxembourg and then Canada, before they kick off their Euro 2024 campaign against Austria on June 17. France will also face the Netherlands and Poland in the group stage as they look to reclaim the European Championships crown they lost to Italy in the 2020 edition.

France squad

Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Mike Maignan (Milan), Brice Samba (Lens); Jonathan Clauss (Marseille), Theo Hernandez (Milan), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool), Jules Kounde (Barcelona), Ferland Mendy (Madrid), Benjamin Pavard (Inter), William Saliba (Arsenal), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich); Eduardo Camavinga (Madrid), Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico), N'Golo Kante (Al Ittihad), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurelien Tchouameni (Madrid), Warren Zaire-Emery (Paris Saint-Germain); Bradley Barcola (Paris Saint-Germain), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Ousmane Dembele (Paris Saint-Germain), Olivier Giroud (Milan), Randal Kolo Muani (Paris Saint-Germain), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcus Thuram (Inter).

France midfielder N’Golo Kante joined Chelsea from Premier League champions Leicester for a reported £32million, on this day in 2016.

Kante’s only season with the Foxes, following his arrival from Caen the previous summer, saw him play a pivotal role in their title-winning campaign.

He was offered a bumper new contract at the King Power Stadium but opted to leave for Chelsea.

“Despite the offer of a substantially-improved, long-term contract, it became apparent that N’Golo’s wish was to join Chelsea,” said a Leicester statement.

Kante cited the opportunity to work under then-Blues boss Antonio Conte as a major reason for moving to Stamford Bridge.

“I am so happy to have signed for one of the biggest clubs in Europe. It’s adream come true for me,” he said.

“The opportunity to work with a brilliant coach and some of the best players in the world was simply too good to turn down.”

Chelsea won the Premier League during Kante’s first season in London as the now 32-year-old became the first player since Eric Cantona in 1993 to win back-to-back top-flight titles in England with two clubs.

Kante also won the FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League before leaving Stamford Bridge this summer for Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad.

N’Golo Kante will join Saudi club Al-Ittihad when his Chelsea contract expires at the end of June, the club has confirmed.

The 32-year-old midfielder joined from Leicester in 2016 and has won the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge.

He had been an integral part of the Foxes’ surprise title success under Claudio Ranieri after arriving in England from Caen in 2015, just two years after having played in the French fourth tier.

Chelsea co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley told the club website: “N’Golo’s impact and influence during his time at Chelsea cannot be overstated. His tireless performances in midfield contributed to several trophy wins and has guaranteed him a place in the club’s history.

“We wish him well as he embarks on the next chapter in his career.”

His final season at the club was blighted by injury. He required hamstring surgery in October and was unavailable to former manager Graham Potter until March, in all making only seven Premier League appearances across the campaign.

He becomes the first major departure since Mauricio Pochettino was confirmed as the club’s new manager, with a reduction in size of a bloated first-team squad amongst the Argentinean’s priorities.

Kante, who won the World Cup with France in Russia in 2018, becomes the latest in a succession of high-profile names to move to the Saudi Professional League.

His international team-mate Karim Benzema has already agreed to join Al-Ittihad after 14 seasons at Real Madrid, following Cristiano Ronaldo who moved to Al Nassr from Manchester United in December.

Wolves captain Ruben Neves has reportedly agreed a £47million move to Al Hilal with an announcement expected from the club this week.

At 26 he will be the youngest big name to leave a European club for Saudi Arabia.

Chelsea outcasts Kalidou Koulibaly, Edouard Mendy, Romelu Lukaku and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have also been linked with moves to the Gulf state.

Lionel Messi's club future remains uncertain, with his Paris Saint-Germain contract at the end of this season.

The two parties have not reached any agreement on a new deal, while there has been speculation linking the 35-year-old with a return to Barcelona.

Messi has also been linked with big-money moves to clubs in Saudi Arabia and the United States.

TOP STORY – PSG WILLING TO MOVE ON FROM MESSI

Paris Saint-Germain are willing to let Lionel Messi exit on a free transfer in the upcoming off-season, reports the Sunday Mirror.

Contract talks between Messi and PSG have stalled in the months following Argentina's World Cup triumph, having reportedly been close to penning an extension.

The report claims PSG are "in no rush" to extend Messi's deal as interest, with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi looking to run the club in a more sustainable way, relying less on star power.

 

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich's number one striker target in the off-season remains Napoli's Victor Osimhen following talks with officials and new boss Thomas Tuchel, claims BILD. The German champions are also keen on Tottenham's Harry Kane, Atalanta's Rasmus Hojlund and Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani.

Barcelona are considering off-season moves for Chelsea duo N'Golo Kante and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang , reports The Mirror.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Liverpool and Manchester United will both hold talks with Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister will take place "very soon".

– Brentford’s David Raya, Porto’s Diogo Costa and Valencia’s Giorgi Mamardashvili are all on Manchester United's goalkeeper shortlist to replace David De Gea, according to GiveMeSport.

– Football Insider claims Aston Villa are readying a £55m combined bid for Manchester City pair Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips.

– Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou is on Chelsea's shortlist to be their new permanent manager, reports The Guardian.

Frank Lampard was able to recall Thiago Silva as the veteran defender returned from injury for Chelsea's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Real Madrid.

Chelsea are facing Madrid at this stage of the competition for the second consecutive season, having been agonisingly eliminated in extra time at the Santiago Bernabeu last year.

The Blues are at least boosted by the presence of Silva in the line-up for this latest trip to Madrid, however.

The 38-year-old has been out with a knee ligament injury since late February, missing the European win against Borussia Dortmund and a host of domestic matches that led to Graham Potter's dismissal.

Silva is back working under former boss Lampard, who also brought back N'Golo Kante after he was rested at Wolves on Saturday.

Kante's inclusion saw a change of shape as 2021 final hero Kai Havertz missed out as a difficult season continues, while Ben Chilwell was preferred to Marc Cucurella.

Madrid, like Chelsea, had shuffled their pack at the weekend with little left to play for in the league. They similarly lost to Villarreal.

But Carlo Ancelotti restored his XI from the prior 4-0 win at Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.

Karim Benzema, selected up front, has scored his past 10 Champions League goals in knockout games against English sides, with four of those coming against Chelsea last season.

He netted a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge before his extra-time goal took Madrid through.

N'Golo Kante was omitted as Frank Lampard named his first starting line-up since returning to Chelsea as caretaker manager, with the midfielder rested ahead of the Blues' Champions League trip to Real Madrid.

Lampard opted to make two changes to Chelsea's side for Saturday's Premier League trip to Wolves, introducing England internationals Raheem Sterling and Conor Gallagher.

With Chelsea reverting to a back four after Bruno Saltor used a 3-5-2 system in Tuesday's goalless draw with Liverpool, Ben Chilwell was dropped to the bench and Kante was absent entirely.

Kante made his first Premier League start since last August against Liverpool, having missed the majority of the campaign with a hamstring injury.

However, Lampard played down any concerns regarding Kante's condition before kick-off, telling Sky Sports: "There's no worries with N'Golo. We're fine with him and managing him through. 

"He's been out for a long time so we have a way of managing him. I was aware of that when I was at the club before.

"Then there are a couple of other selection issues, some small concerns, so we have to protect a couple of the players in the squad."

Mason Mount was also absent for the Blues, with reports suggesting the midfielder suffered a recurrence of a previous injury in training on Friday.

The Athletic reported Mount – who has been linked with a move away after failing to agree a new contract with the Blues – could also miss the first leg of Chelsea's quarter-final tie with Madrid.

Chelsea travel to the Santiago Bernabeu to face Carlo Ancelotti's European champions on Wednesday, before welcoming Los Blancos to Stamford Bridge six days later.

Chelsea's interim head coach Bruno Saltor hailed his players' response to a difficult few days after the Blues enjoyed the better of the play in Tuesday's goalless draw with Liverpool.

Chelsea missed several clear chances to win their first game since Graham Potter's sacking, with Kai Havertz denied a second-half winner by a VAR review after a shot rebounded into the net via his arm.

The result keeps the Blues in the bottom half of the Premier League table, but there was cause for optimism after a game in which Liverpool managed just two shots from inside the Blues' area.

Speaking after the draw, former Brighton and Hove Albion full-back Bruno outlined his pride in Chelsea's performance, despite them failing to net in a sixth different home league game this season.

"I asked the players to play with their hearts and I think we saw that," the Spaniard told Sky Sports. "We gave everything, we created chances. We scored twice, one offside and one handball.

"I think it was a big performance from the boys, it's a good start for them after some difficult, emotional days.

"They were able to keep themselves focused, to use their heads and their hearts as well, so credit to them.

"It's been a really difficult season for them. To come back from the news we had in the last few days is incredible. 

"It shows they are able to focus on the moment and on performing well. They have to be proud of themselves."

One major positive for Chelsea came in the form of N'Golo Kante, who gave an energetic performance as he captained the side on his first league start since last August.

Kante won five of his seven duels and was successful with all three of his attempted tackles, but Bruno believes being able to lean on his experience is equally crucial for Chelsea.

"He's outstanding," Bruno said of Kante. "Both with what he brings to the team in terms of football, and what he brings in terms of leadership. He's a massive plus for the team."

With the appointment of Potter's long-term successor not believed to be imminent, Bruno was asked if he expects to be in place for Saturday's trip to Wolves, but the 42-year-old is taking things day by day. 

"I expect to go home now and rest, then go game by game," he said. "That's what we are trying to do, trying to be as professional as we can, help the club and present the best that we can.

"It's a difficult situation, but I think everyone is doing the best they can. We just need to relax, be calm and assess the boys. I know it sounds boring, but it's a day by day job.

"The only thing I can say is I'm happy for the first performance, but it's what they [the players] deserve. It's credit to them, it's not credit to me."

Virgil van Dijk has been ruled out of Liverpool's Premier League trip to Chelsea through illness, with Mohamed Salah surprisingly named on the bench as Jurgen Klopp makes six changes to his side.

Van Dijk reportedly missed training after feeling unwell ahead of Tuesday's game at Stamford Bridge, where Liverpool are looking to end a run of three successive defeats either side of the international break.

The defender previously missed seven games with a hamstring injury in January and February, with the Reds suffering demoralising defeats at Brighton and Hove Albion and Wolves in his absence.

Van Dijk is not the only notable absentee from Klopp's starting lineup in west London, with Salah joining Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson in dropping to the bench.

Joe Gomez and Konstantinos Tsimikas replace the full-back pair, while Curtis Jones, Joel Matip, Darwin Nunez and Roberto Firmino have been brought in, with Harvey Elliott and Cody Gakpo also replaced. 

Chelsea's interim head coach Bruno Saltor, meanwhile, has made two changes to the side that began Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa – a result that led to Graham Potter's dismissal.

N'Golo Kante will captain Chelsea on his first Premier League start since last August, with Wesley Fofana the second player introduced by former Brighton and Hove Albion full-back Bruno.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mykhailo Mudryk are both named on the bench after starting the defeat against Villa, a result that left Chelsea mired inside the Premier League's bottom half.

Chelsea have been handed a boost as head coach Graham Potter prepares to welcome Reece James and N'Golo Kante back from injury for their Premier League game against Aston Villa.

Having played the last six minutes in England's 2-1 away win against Italy, James withdrew from the England squad with an injury but has been training with Chelsea since.

Kante has not featured since August after suffering a hamstring injury that required surgery, but is in line to feature against Villa after playing in a series of behind-closed-doors friendlies during the break.

"Reece has had the last two training sessions with us so providing there is no reaction he should be available," Potter said at a press conference on Friday. 

"N'Golo has had some time on the pitch, some game time, so that's good for him.

"We have to manage that because he's been out for so long but I'm pretty sure he will be out on the pitch at some point."

Potter also confirmed that Saturday's fixture will come too soon for defensive trio Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Wesley Fofana, while Raheem Sterling is also set to miss the game. 

"Silva and Azpilicueta are still away. Raheem and Fofana are coming back but will miss the game, they have more of a chance for Tuesday [v Liverpool]," Potter said.

Mason Mount was another forced to pull out of the England squad with a pubic bone injury and has endured a tough season with just three Premier League goals so far.

The 24-year-old's contract expires at the end of next season but despite rumours over his future at the London club, Potter was full of praise for Mount's attitude.

"Mount has trained and is available, probably not for the start," he said.

"It's been tough for him because he's had niggly injuries and noise off the pitch. He's a top professional, how he's acted with me and around us has been top. 

"Sometimes if things in your career aren't optimal, you've got to act well and he has."

Chelsea sit in 10th place in the league and look to bounce back from their disappointing 2-2 draw with relegation-threatened Everton.

Unai Emery's Villa are level on points with the Blues in 11th and are unbeaten in their last four league games.

Tottenham and Antonio Conte appears set to part ways imminently following the Italian's explosive rant after their 3-3 draw with Southampton on Saturday.

Conte's Spurs contract is due to expire at the end of this season and he has been linked with a return to Italy to be closer to his family.

Spurs have been eliminated from the Champions League and FA Cup but remain firmly in the race to finish in the Premier League's top four, currently sitting fourth but fifth-placed Newcastle United are two points behind with two games in hand.

TOP STORY – SPURS TURN TO EINTRACHT BOSS IN SHOCK MOVE

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is looking to Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Oliver Glasner as a potential replacement for Antonio Conte, according to Bild.

The report claims Spurs have already made contact with the Austrian's representatives about the surprise move.

Glasner is yet to sign an extension on his deal from Frankfurt which expires in 2024. Tottenham have Glasner in their sights, having led the Germans to the Europa League title last season.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United and Newcastle United will battle it out to land the signature of Roma forward Paulo Dybala, reports Calciomercatoweb. The Argentinian is set to be available for a bargain price, given he has a release clause for overseas clubs to sign him for just £10.6million (€12m).

– Relevo claims Chelsea are working behind the scenes to make Joao Felix's loan stay at Stamford Bridge permanent beyond this season. The Portuguese joined the Blues in January on a six-month loan from Atletico Madrid, for whom he penned an extension until 2027 on the eve of that move.

– The Times claims Tottenham will demand £100m upfront for captain and star striker Harry Kane, who is out of contract in 2024. Manchester United have been linked with Kane, while Bayern Munich previously showed an interest, although that has reportedly waned.

Juventus' pursuit of Chelsea's midfielder N'Golo Kante has been dealt a blow, with the Frenchman unlikely to leave Stamford Bridge, reports Tuttomercatoweb.

– Football Transfers claims Arsenal will look to tie down Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard on a long-term deal until 2030. His deal expires in 2025.

Arsenal are interested in Salzburg's 22-year-old forward Noah Okafor, claims The Daily Mail. Tottenham and Milan are also keen on the Swiss talent.

Graham Potter feels Chelsea have shown progress under his management but acknowledges there is still work to be done for the Blues to get back on top.

The former Brighton and Hove Albion boss succeeded Thomas Tuchel in September, as new owner Todd Boehly opted for a shake-up in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

A poor post-World Cup run of form, however, had left Potter under pressure, before a streak of three wins and progress to the Champions League quarter-finals eased matters.

Saturday's 2-2 draw with Everton, in which the Toffees scored a last-gasp leveller, saw them miss the chance to make it four on the bounce, but Potter still thinks his team are taking forward steps on his watch.

"It's been an intense few weeks," he told the club's website. "We have had a couple of decent weeks. Clearly, we wanted to get the fourth win and go into this break with a victory.

"We have to keep thinking about how we can move forward, and what we have to do better. [The] stability, togetherness [and] spirit in the group has been a real positive over these tough months.

"Before the World Cup, the intensity of the games and the injuries we were picking up was crazy. The transfer window added noise we've got a young group that are falling together well. There's lots still to do."

Potter was able to name influential World Cup winner N'Golo Kante in a matchday squad for the first time since August for the draw with Everton.

With several of the club's bigger stars away on international duty, he is hopeful he can ease the Frenchman back with some match-time during the interval.

"N'Golo is due to carry on training this week, and potentially [have] a game to get some minutes," he added.

"That's the plan there. The game will probably be internal. We need to control that as much as we can. But that will be good."

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia has won plenty of admirers with 13 goals and 15 assists for runaway Serie A leaders Napoli this season.

The 22-year-old Georgian joined Napoli in July 2022, penning a contract until 2027 for a for a reported fee of €10–12 million from Dinamo Batumi.

Kvaratskhelia has helped Napoli into the Champions League quarter-finals, while winning the Serie A's Player of the Month twice.

 

TOP STORY – PSG TO TABLE LUCRATIVE OFFER FOR NAPOLI STAR

Paris Saint-Germain are ready to go all-out and offer Khvicha Kvaratskhelia a whopping €180m deal, claims Le10Sport.

Real Madrid are also reportedly monitoring the winger's status although he has previously shown no interest in exiting Napoli. It has been claimed Napoli would not accept anything below €100m for their emerging star.

The lucrative deal is plausible given PSG hold the record for the two most expensive transfers in world football, signing Neymar for €222m in 2017 and Kylian Mbappe for €180m in 2018.

 

ROUND-UP

– Mundo Deportivo reports Borussia Dortmund have placed a bumper €125m (£110m) minimum price tag on midfielder Jude Bellingham as a long list of clubs chase his signature including Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester United.

Manchester United are willing to pay the €50m (£44m) release clause in Ousmane Dembele's Barcelona contract as they look to sign the French winger, reports Fichajes. The report claims the Blaugrana may be open to that as they look to sort their financial challenges.

Chelsea are interested in an off-season move for Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier, reports Football Insider. The report claims Blues boss Graham Potter wants a new stopper, with Meslier seen as a cheaper option if Leeds go down. Fichajes claims Chelsea are keen on Inter goalkeeper Andre Onana to take over from Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Newcastle United have revived their interest in Bayer Leverkusen pair Moussa Diaby and Mitchel Bakker claims 90min. Arsenal have been linked with Diaby in the past, with the French winger reportedly worth €70m (£62m).

Juventus are still pushing to sign Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante as a free agent despite reports he will re-sign with the Blues, according to Calciomercato.

– The Mirror reports Manchester United are set to hand manager Erik ten Hag a new three-year extension, despite the ongoing uncertainty around the sale of the club.

Reece James will miss Chelsea's trip to Leicester City on Saturday through illness, but boss Graham Potter is hopeful N'Golo Kante will make his long-awaited return next week.

James has endured a frustrating few months, making just 11 Premier League appearances this season and missing England's World Cup campaign after suffering a knee injury ahead of the tournament.

The wing-back missed last Saturday's 1-0 win over Leeds United with a hamstring issue, though he returned as Chelsea overcame a Champions League last-16 deficit to eliminate Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, easing the pressure on Potter.

The latest setback to befall James will see him sit out Chelsea's trip to the King Power Stadium, while fellow England international Raheem Sterling is also a doubt.

"Reece has been ill and he's not trained today, so he won't make the game tomorrow," Potter explained at Friday's pre-match press conference.

"Raheem had a feeling in his hamstring, more tightness than anything, so he's looking doubtful for tomorrow as well."

Six of Chelsea's nine Premier League wins this season have come in the 11 games in which James has featured. The Blues have won just three of their 14 matches without the 23-year-old.

Chelsea count the likes of Kante and Thiago Silva among their more long-term absentees, with the former last featuring in August's 2-2 draw with Tottenham after suffering a hamstring injury and the latter aiming to return in April from a knee problem.

While Potter ruled out Kante returning against the midfielder's former team, the Blues boss revealed next week's home clash with Everton was a realistic target.

Asked whether Kante would be available at Leicester, Potter said: "No, he won't. He still needs some more time to build up. We're aiming more towards Everton, but unfortunately it won't be tomorrow.

"The most important thing for [Kante and Silva] is to get them back injury-free. The more good players we have, the better."

Chelsea's back-to-back victories have gone some way to easing pressure on Potter, after he watched his team win just one of their first 11 matches of the calendar year.

Asked if he felt a weight had been lifted in the last week, Potter said: "Yeah, in some way. It's always nicer to win, it's as simple as that. Everything feels a bit better, like you've taken a step forward.

"But I'm not getting carried away, it's just two wins. We have to focus on Leicester. The boys have stuck together through a bad time, and there's a lot to be said for that.

"The supporters have been really fair. Results-wise we haven't done that well, so you understand the criticism.

"It's hard for them to get behind something when the results aren't something to get behind. I have nothing to say about how we've been treated by the supporters, they've been great."

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