Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has allayed hamstring injury fears about N’Golo Kante ahead of the Champions League final in 10 days’ time, explaining the key midfielder was withdrawn in the first half against Leicester as a precaution.
Kante was replaced by Mateo Kovacic after only 32 minutes of the game at Stamford Bridge in a worrying sight for Chelsea fans. The Frenchman has already missed games with a hamstring injury this season, both in January and briefly at the start of April.
But Tuchel is hopeful that Kante has not suffered any damage this time around because he came off the pitch as a preventative measure before anything serious happened.
“I hope that N’Golo is not injured,” Tuchel said, via ChelseaFC.com.
“He told me he went off before an injury. He felt his hamstring and he was worried that he would get injured if he continued playing, so we put Kova in, which was also a huge risk, because he was only on the bench for 20 minutes when we had planned for 60 minutes before bringing him on.
“So we took some risks, but it was the moment to take risks. It was a game of the highest importance at the end of the season and I’m happy that it worked out. Hopefully N’Golo will come back. We are a different team with and without N’Golo.”
Chelsea face Manchester City in the Champions League final in Porto on Saturday 29 May. It is the club’s first Champions League final since 2012, when they lifted the trophy after an underdog victory against Bayern Munich, and for Kante in particular it would add another medal to a collection that already includes two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, Europa League and World Cup.