the Blues confirmed their participation in next season’s Champions League after drawing at home with Leicester City. Chelsea dominated the entire 90 minutes of the game but failed to convert their chances as has been the case in the last few games.
James Maddison gave the visitors an early lead in the sixth minute of the first half with a shot outside the 18-yard box that beat Edouard Mendy at the inside of the right post. Marcos Alonso equalized for the host with a fine volley after receiving a cross from Reece James in the 35th minute.
N’Golo Kante was superb for the Blues after starring in midfield alongside Jorginho. The French international has been linked with a sensational move to the Old Trafford. according to reports, Manchester United’s new coach Erik Ten Hag wants to make Kante the first signing of his era.
What was said?
Speaking after the 1-1 draw with Leicester City, Thomas Tuchel said: “I think he is our key, key, key player, but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch. He plays only 40% of the games then it is maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place. He is our Mo Salah, he is our Van Dijk, he is our De Bruyne. He is simply that player, he is our Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
“He is that guy who makes the difference, and if you only have him for 40%, then it is a huge problem. Given that percentage, it is maybe a miracle that he produces results. It puts everything into perspective as I saw Liverpool without Van Dijk last season, and they struggled heavily. You see the difference. N’Golo is our key player, and we need him on the pitch.”
Tuchel added: “It’s to live with. It’s hard to live with. It’s important for him to be there and to have the rhythm. I think he played ok, but he can play so much better. But when was his last game he started? It was weeks ago. So he constantly starts getting the rhythm, but once he has that, comes a little injury, and he’s out again.
“Last year, in the last five matches of the Champions League, he got the [man-of-the-match] trophy. I mean, they almost handed him the trophy before the match. It was like this. This guy who gets man of the match in every Champions League game is only here for 40-something percent of the matches. This is huge for us.
“We do everything to solve it. Of course, he is as well. I don’t blame him, it is just a concern and a fact that we miss him a lot because he brings something unique to world football, and he has that ability to lift everybody and make that difference. This is the challenge for him and us.”
Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel compared N’Golo Kante to Chelsea’s best-ever players.
He continued: “For sure he is. But I can only repeat myself. He can make the difference, but he can only make the difference if you are on the pitch and your top level. This is our target for him, and he, anyway, does everything. He is one of the very best. He is one of the very best midfielders in the world.”