Chelsea FC facing N’Golo Kante dilemma as Thomas Tuchel admits: ‘We’’re a different team with him’

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 (AP)
(AP)

Thomas Tuchel is facing a major decision over N’Golo Kante ahead of the Champions League final. 

The Chelsea midfielder asked to be substituted during the first half of Tuesday’s 2-1 win against Leicester, fearing he would suffer a hamstring injury. 

But with Chelsea still needing to win their final game of the season against Aston Villa to guarantee a top four finish, Tuchel wants the France international to be involved. 

With the Champions League final six days later, it could represent a serious fitness risk for Kante. 

Watch: Thomas Tuchel insists Chelsea did not use Daniel Amartey incident as motivation

Tuchel said: “I hope we have a chance to let him play on Sunday because we are a different team with him and without him. 

“I am happy everything went well and I think that NG was hopefully not too bad.

“N’Golo is not injured. He told me he went out before an injury. He felt his hamstrings and was worried that he would get injured if he continued to play.” 

Mateo Kovacic, who has only just returned from his own hamstring injury, replaced Kante against Leicester and would be the obvious choice to start at Villa Park. 

Tuchel added: “We put Kova in and that was a risk because he was more or less on the bench for 20 minutes, but he played 60. 

“We took some risks, but it was the moment to take risks as it was a game of the highest importance at the end of the season. I am happy it worked out.”

Getty Images
Getty Images

Despite moving up to third in the Premier League, Tuchel urged caution – which is why he is so determined to have Kante available.

“It felt like a huge effort and a top performance,” he added. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s a big step, but it’s only a step, it’s not done yet. 

“We have to get over the line on Sunday. It was a team effort full of intensity, full of hunger and ambition. We played many, many minutes with a lot of quality. 

“It was in my opinion a well-deserved win, but it’s not the time for praise and celebration. It’s not the time about philosophy and whether this is more than three points. There’s another game to catch on Sunday we’ll be prepared and aware to finish the job.”

Watch: Warm up routine

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