Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard said N'Golo Kante will resume training "in the next two or three days" as he steps up his recovery from a groin strain.
Kante missed Chelsea's 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the EFL Cup fourth round at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The France international has not featured since injuring his groin during the warm-up ahead of his country's Euro 2020 qualifier against Iceland on October 14.
Lampard provided an update on Kante post-match and revealed the Chelsea star is set to return to training before Saturday's clash with Premier League struggler Watford.
"Training in the next two or three days," Lampard told reporters. "Hopefully [before the international break]. It's important, he's a top player.
"I'd have liked to have given Jorginho and [Mateo] Kovacic a rest tonight because of the work they've put in, but I couldn't today because of N'Golo, Ross [Barkley] and Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] long-term. I couldn't make the changes I wanted to today. It is what it is."
Chelsea succumbed to Marcus Rashford's stunning 73rd-minute free-kick in London, where United moved through to the quarterfinals.
Michy Batshuayi had cancelled out Rashford's 25th-minute penalty after the hour before the United star stepped up and scored a jaw-dropping, Cristiano Ronaldo-esque set piece.
Lampard added: "We've had seven wins on the trot. We've had taxing games in the Champions League. We want to get into the next stage of that. Our form in the league has been really good.
"They're the priorities. But we want to win matches and give everything. Today, I had to look at my squad and who deserves minutes. The young players. The competition has an element of that for us.
"I saw a lot of things that were good for us for the future. A lot of positive things about us. I hate losing. We all do here. But there's a big picture here and a lot of big games to come, and a busy fixture list. Now we focus on what happens next."
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