Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel hopes return of N’Golo Kante and Romelu Lukaku will breathe new life into title bid

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 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Thomas Tuchel is hoping the return of “Superman” N’Golo Kante and Romelu Lukaku will breathe new life into Chelsea’s title challenge.

Tuchel claims rivals Manchester City and Liverpool have been fortunate to avoid the type of injury woes Chelsea have suffered this season.

And now that key players are working their way back to fitness, he is convinced his European champions can keep the pressure on at the top.

He said: “That’s the big advantage at the moment for City and Liverpool. They have everybody available and you see it. We don’t have everybody available.

“We have key players out for weeks and weeks and weeks and we feel it.

“The guys are here doing good. We will never complain. I am happy with everybody who plays - every three days.

“These players are Chelsea players for a reason. They are top, top international players for a reason. And when they’re out for too long it’s huge.”

Chelsea have had to cope without a host of key players for extended periods this season, including Kante, Lukaku, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Mateo Kovacic and Ben Chilwell.

Kante will be on the bench against Everton tonight after recovering from a twisted knee - and Lukaku is in contention to start in the Premier League for the first time since October after an ankle injury.

Tuchel believes the very presence of Kante will give his side a major boost after seeing them drop from first to third in recent weeks.

He said: “He is superman. When he is on the pitch he gives you that feeling, maybe the stadium. He reassures everybody else on the pitch that we have some extra force there, some extra gear and that’s why he is so important.”

But Tuchel insists he will continue to manage Lukaku’s minutes in a bid to ensure he rediscovers the kind of form that convinced Chelsea to make him their club record signing.

“I think he can play 70-plus minutes, but it depends how the game goes,” he said.

“We brought him in for consistency, but like it or not there is adaptation going on. If you play in Italy or England it’s a very, very different game.”

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