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Thomas Tuchel says N’Golo Kante is a key player for Chelsea

n'golo kante chelsea 2020

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel highlighted the importance of midfielder N’Golo Kante following the club’s 1-1 Premier League draw against Leicester City last night.

The Blues dominated the proceedings against the Foxes at Stamford Bridge, but it was once again a similar story with the lack of cutting edge in the final third of the pitch.

James Maddison opened the scoring for the Foxes in the sixth minute with a long-range shot that beat goalkeeper Edouard Mendy at his near post. He should have done better.

Chelsea levelled the scores in the 35th minute. Reece James delivered a superb deft assist for Marcos Alonso, who scored his fifth goal of the season with a fine volley.

Following the game, a number of questions were posed to Tuchel including the future of Kante. The German clearly stated that the midfielder remains a ‘key player’ in the squad.

He said via Chelseafc.com: “I think he is our key, key player but key players need to be on the pitch. He plays only 40 per cent of the games and it’s maybe a miracle we arrive in third place because he is our Mo Salah, Van Dijk or De Bruyne.”

“He is the guy who makes the difference so if you only have him 40 per cent it’s a huge problem. I saw Liverpool last season without Van Dijk and they struggled heavily. N’Golo is our key player and he needs to be on the pitch.”

Kante has had a mixed season with the Blues by his high standards. Amid injury concerns, the Frenchman has struggled to replicate his consistency from previous seasons.

Yesterday was another fine example. The 31-year-old had a difficult time in the centre of the park, particularly in the opening half. He won just four of his 10 ground and aerial duels.

Kante was eventually subbed off in the 72nd minute. Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaced him, but James was also spotted playing higher up as the Blues tried to push for the winner.

As things stand, the Frenchman’s deal with the Blues expires in the summer of 2023. However, Tuchel has given a clear indication that he would like to keep him next term.

The Blues could still be tempted to pursue a quality young defensive midfielder this summer as Kante has shown signs of regression over the course of the season.

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