Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel asserted that the unavailability of N’Golo Kante throughout crucial junctures of the season has derailed his team and emphasized the importance of the Frenchman to the team. The French midfielder returned to the starting lineup after missing the last four games.
N'Golo Kante made the switch from Leicester City to Chelsea in the summer of 2016 as the London club paid a reported fee of £32 million. The French midfielder has established himself as one of the best ball-winning midfielders in the world during his time in England. The World Cup winner has made 259 appearances for the Blues while helping the side keep numerous clean sheets and scoring 13 goals across all competitions for the club.
The Frenchman's exceptional defensive prowess and energy in midfield have helped the English side claim several major honors during his time at the club. Despite being an important player for the side, the 31-year-old has struggled with injuries in the past two seasons for the club.
Kante has suffered various injury issues this season, including groin and knee problems which have seen him feature in only 25 league games although it was a better record compared to last campaign where he only featured in 22 top-flight games.
Kante started the game against Leicester on Thursday after missing the previous four games and Tuchel insisted that the French midfielder remained a key cog in his plans for the future.
"I think he is our key, key, key player. But key, key, key players need to be on the pitch and he has played only 40 per cent of the games, so 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 that guy who makes the difference and if you only have him for 40 per cent, then it is a huge problem” Tuchel said in his press conference.
“You see the difference. N'Golo is our key player and we need him on the pitch,” he added.