Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has admitted that the Blues must be careful with the fitness of midfielder N'Golo Kante as he looks to return from injury once more this season.
The Frenchman suffered a knee injury which disrupted his pre-season, then picked up an ankle injury which forced him back onto the sidelines, and a recent hamstring concern has again seen Kante left out of Chelsea's squad.
Speaking after his side's 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday (via Goal), Lampard claimed that Kante's injury struggles are likely due to the fact he has played so many games for both club and country in the last few seasons.
He said: "My feeling is that he has played a lot and that's because he has been so successful and so important to the teams he has been in. At the minute, he has injuries.
"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.
"I have been there as a player and, if you miss a pre-season through an injury in particular, then you are playing catch-up. 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."
The Frenchman has managed just four appearances in all competitions this season, the latest of which was a hugely impressive showing in the 2-1 defeat to Liverpool.
With that trio all impressing, Lampard certainly does not need to risk rushing Kante back to action, although fans are certainly eager to see the World Cup winner return to the squad as soon as possible.