Chelsea gaffer Thomas Tuchel reserved praise for star man N’Golo Kante after he cemented his return to action on Thursday.
The midfielder has often been seen as a vital cog in tuchel’s system but injury has limited some of his performance and Appearances this season.
Having returned from another knock with a cameo off the bench against Liverpool in Saturday’s FA Cup final loss, the World Cup winner started for Chelsea in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Leicester – and his boss was quick to wax lyrical about his impact afterwards, even amid his fitness issues.
N’Golo Kante is Chelsea’s “Mohamed Salah, Kylian Mbappe and Virgil van Dijk”, according to manager Thomas Tuchel, who says it would have been a “miracle” for the Blues to finish in the top four of the Premier League without the France star.
“I think he is our key, key, key player but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch,” Tuchel stated. “He plays only 40 per cent 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 per cent, then it is a huge problem.
“Giving 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.”
In the Premier League, Kante has made 25 appearances out of a possible 37 matches, but has seen the chance to build consistent momentum blighted by his injury record.
It is little surprise that last year, when he featured in 30 games in the Premier League, and all 13 continental games, Chelsea went on to win the Champions League which further shows his high importance to the team.