Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said Mateo Kovacic’s return is a huge boost for the team for the FA Cup final against Leicester City after a “lack of quality, energy, and experience” in midfield in the Arsenal defeat.
The German has confirmed that he will have all of his players available for the Saturday’s trip to Wembley, including midfield duo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante.
The 25-year-old was out for a month after picking up a hamstring injury prior to the second-leg win over Porto in April.
As a result, Tuchel has been very reliant on Jorginho and Kante, in particular with the former even having to start eight consecutive games during Kovacic’s absence.
Tuchel is unsurprisingly delighted to have the Croatia international back in the team.
“It’s huge,” Tuchel said in his pre-match press conference about Kovacic’s return.
“Mateo has everything we need in midfield. He has experience, power, acceleration, deceleration.
“He can dribble with the ball and beat players, he is fast and has physical ability.
“You could see when we missed Mateo and N’Golo in the same match we lacked quality and energy and experience.
“It’s what we need in the key moments of the season at the end of the season.
“It’s big news for us Kova is back. He has a huge impact in the dressing room also and is a very positive guy.”
It remains unclear whether Tuchel will risk starting Kovacic who has been out for a while or opt for Kante and Jorginho instead.
If he misses out on the starting line-up for the FA Cup final, Kovacic will likely start in the decisive league match against the same opponents on Tuesday.
As things stand, Chelsea sit fourth in the table, two points behind Leicester. The midweek game will have a huge impact on the top four race and is arguably as important as the FA Cup final