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Update:Chelsea vs Zenit Kante, Pulisic out as Blues begin Champions League defence

Thomas Tuchel has confirmed that both N’Golo Kante and Christian Pulisic are ruled out of tomorrow’s Champions League group stage opener with Zenit St Petersburg through injury.

The duo are closing in on a return, with Tuchel hoping to have Kante back for selection against Tottenham on Sunday, but our German head coach admitted that tomorrow’s Champions League tie will come too soon for the pair to be involved.

The boss revealed that Pulisic did not train with the squad today but did explain how next few days of work look like for French midfielder Kante.

“Christian did not train with us today,” Tuchel revealed at his pre-match press conference.

“We said that we were looking for him to return after the international break and for him to have that period of 10 days of training and recovery before returning to the pitch. He’s still in a state of recovery and individual training, so he is not ready just yet.

“N’Golo had two training sessions yesterday and trained again today, but the Champions League game comes a bit too early for him. We won’t take the risk with him now at this moment of the season.

“We have decided to give him another load in training tomorrow, then he will have the day off with the rest of the group and then train with us all on Friday to be ready totally for Tottenham on Sunday.”
Chelsea in numbers
This will be the ninth consecutive season we have played our opening Champions League fixture at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea have only lost one of our past 17 Champions League group games at Stamford Bridge (winning 10) – Valencia in 2019/20.

Chelsea have won 10 and lost only one of our last 17 Champions League group games at Stamford Bridge.

In our last two games against Liverpool and Aston Villa, Edouard Mendy made six saves in each, his most in any other appearance since joining Chelsea in all competitions. He is now up to 28 clean sheets in his Blues career.

Milestone
If selected to make his 50th appearance for Chelsea in the Champions League, Azpilicueta will be the ninth Blues players to reach that milestone in the competition behind John Terry (109), Frank Lampard (102), Petr Cech (94), Didier Drogba (74), Ashley Cole (60), John Mikel Obi (59), Branislav Ivanovic (58) and Joe Cole (51)

Against Aston Villa, Callum Hudson-Odoi made his 100th and Kai Havertz his 50th appearance for the club in all competitions.

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