N'Golo Kante has defended Maurizio Sarri after his manager admitted responsibility for his midfielder's hamstring injury while also issuing a rallying cry for Chelsea to turn a turbulent season into a great one.
He is expected to miss out the next two matches this week as Chelsea bid to get to the final in from their second leg with Eintracht Frankfurt at Stamford Bridge with the tie still in the balance at 1-1.
Yet, despite Sarri saying that he made a 'mistake' in using Kante on Sunday, the midfielder refused to blame his manager and is preparing for his recovery.
“No. I was just fine and it just happened," Kante said at Stamford Bridge. “I’m ok, I just have pain through my hamstring and I just need a bit of time to check what it is. That is one possibility [that I will be out until the final], but first, we need to check and take the time to check everything to see how long it will take.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea's top-four finish ensures that the club doesn't face two consecutive seasons out of Europe's elite competition as both Arsenal and Manchester United failed to win this weekend, allowing Sarri's side to confirm their lucrative return to the Champions League.
Sarri's side were booed at half-time as Watford dominated but the victory turned the Stamford Bridge atmosphere into a positive one on the final whistle. Kante admits that Chelsea have deserved the adverse reaction at times this season, but he still thinks the squad can deliver a 'great finish' to the season.
"As we know we have two targets and, after a difficult time in the league, we have the opportunity to finish well and take the third position," Kante added. "It will be an important game against Leicester and we still have the second leg of the Europa League.
"We cannot say that [we have momentum] because at too many times this season, we are winning and losing, winning and losing. [The fans] are behind us, they want the same result as we want and they are just trying to show what they want from us [by booing].
"At the end, we all want a good season and to finish well. So we hope we can get what we want on Thursday and go to the final. We want to qualify for the Champions League and get a trophy. It would be a great finish.
"Why not? It can make this season be cheerful. But step by step, the first step is to get to the final.”
Kante has been in the spotlight this season after the PFA Player of the Year for 2017 changed his role in the midfield under his new manager to accommodate the club's £57 million signing Jorginho.
Chelsea have been overrun in midfield at times this season, leading to the club dropping points and producing underwhelming displays. However, Kante thinks that he and Jorginho are still gelling, as the former Napoli man begins to get more positive reviews over his performances.
“I think we have played together all the season and we understand the idea of the manager," Kante concluded. "That is the most important thing. We are improving because we understand better the idea of the manager and we are doing better game after game.
“This season pushed me to add something to my game, to be able to play more in front and give the best last passes and take my chance to shoot, and I think I have improved and I’m happy for that.”