Thomas Tuchel has said N’Golo Kante is “looking good” ahead of the Champions League final against Manchester City in Porto later this week, while he has hope that Edouard Mendy will be training on Wednesday.
Midfielder Kante sat out the final day defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday having been withdrawn during the second half of the victory over Leicester City, while Mendy was ubstituted at half time of the 2-1 loss to Villa after colliding with a post when trying to keep our Bertrand Traore’s opener.
Both players are key parts of Tuchel’s team and are the only two injury doubts heading into the final with Man City on Saturday in Portugal.
Kante is expected to be in training on Wednesday as well when the Blues players return to the training pitches at Cobham. Monday is a designated recovery day for the players and Tuesday will be a complete day off before the players start their preparations to face Pep Guardiola’s side at the training ground on Wednesday.
Mateo Kovacic started in place of Kante for the Villa loss, while Kepa Arrizabalaga replaced Mendy between the sticks at the break at Villa Park.
Speaking at his first of two pre-match press conferences this week ahead of Saturday’s final, Tuchel said of Mendy’s chances of playing in Porto: “Edou, maybe the update is we still have hope. He has a chance of training on Wednesday.
“He has made huge improvement in the management of pain. Further update on Wednesday but we hope to have him back in training.
“Edou will play if he is fit. We will try on Wednesday, if not then we will try on Thursday, if not then we will try on Friday. If he cannot make it then we have a strong guy on the bench with Kepa. The images don’t show that the injury is too serious. Every hour and day counts.”
Kante simply didn’t want to risk any further injury at Stamford Bridge as he instructed to bench he wanted to be withdrawn. His head coach is well known for not wanting to take any risks with players potentially suffering serious injuries and will almost always take them out of the firing line.
Though with Kante, who played through the pain barrier in 2019 when Chelsea beat Arsenal in the Europa League final, the head coach has no such qualms.
“We will just put him in training when the game starts on Saturday and not speak to doctors and physios or changing tactics,” the head coach joked.