Thomas Tuchel says it’s a “miracle” that Chelsea secured third place in the Premier League, even though she was so much of the season without “key, key, key” player N’Golo Kante.
Kante returned to Tuchel’s starting lineup in Chelsea’s Leicester 1: 1 draw on Thursday as he missed the previous four games with the last of a series of injury problems.
The Frenchman faces an uncertain future on Stamford Bridge with his contract expiring next summer, but Tuchel likened him to Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne at a post-match press conference in terms of his importance to the party.
“I think he’s our key, key, key player,” he said. “But key, key, key players have to be on the court and he’s only played 40 percent of the matches, so it’s possible a miracle we got to third place.
“It’s our Mo Salah, it’s our Van Dijk, it’s our De Bruyne, it’s our Neymar, it’s our Kylian Mbappe.
“It’s just the player, the guy who makes the difference, and if you only have 40 percent of the time, it’s a huge problem.
“Given this percentage, it may be a miracle how consistently we have achieved results and it puts it all into perspective because last season I saw Liverpool without Van Dijk and they had big problems.
“You see the difference. N’Golo is our key player and he needs to be on the field.”
Kante has suffered various injuries this season, including groin and knee problems, and Tuchel asked if he thought Chelsea could find a solution: “I hope so. It’s hard to live with because it’s important for him to be there and have it. ” rhythm.
“I think he played well tonight, but he can play much better. But when was his last match when he started? It was weeks ago.”
“He keeps getting a rhythm, and as soon as he has a rhythm, he gets a little injury and is out again.”
Tuchel mentioned his role in Chelsea’s Champions League triumph last season: “Last year, they handed him a trophy before the match in the Champions League.
“It was clear that he would be a match man. And this guy who becomes a match man in every Champions League match is only here for 40 percent of the matches, and that’s huge for us.”
“We are doing everything we can to solve it.
“I don’t blame him. It’s just a concern and it’s a fact that we miss him a lot because he brings something that is unique in world football and has the ability to lift everyone and make a difference.”
“He’s one of the best midfielders in the world.”