'Was not the moment’: Tuchel says he played Chelsea star for longer than he was meant to vs Wolves

Thomas Tuchel confessed that he disregarded advice from the Chelsea medical staff to use N’Golo Kante for less time against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Speaking to the 5th Stand after the Blues drew a blank at Molineux yesterday, Tuchel revealed that the Frenchman had played for longer than suggested.

Kante lasted the full 90 minutes versus Wolves, despite only just coming back from nearly a month’s absence through injury.

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

The midfielder sustained a knee problem at home to Juventus and hadn’t featured at all up until Sunday’s rather drab 0-0 draw.


Safety first with Kante

He survived the match unscathed, just the third time he’s completed an entire fixture in the Premier League this season.

Yet, had certain members of Chelsea’s backroom staff got their way, Kante would’ve been removed at half-time.

“We had a strong recommendation for him to play 45 minutes we which we simply ignored and let him on the pitch because, come on, we have seven players out with covid,” said Tuchel.

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

“We have injured players out. It was not the moment to take one of the world’s best midfielders out of the game because he’s tired.

“It was not the moment so we left him and he makes the difference all the time.”

Chelsea dropping like flies

As Tuchel rightly pointed out, he was given very little choice but to keep Kante on until the final whistle.

Like so many squads up and down the country, his camp has been hit by a wave of positive covid cases.

Ben Chilwell, Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi were all confirmed before the Everton encounter.

Kai Havertz and Andreas Christensen did not travel with the squad to face Wolves, so they might be the other two casualties.

To make matters worse, both Trevoh Chalobah and Hakim Ziyech had to come off yesterday due to injury.

Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Add to this Jorginho’s long-term back pain, the Blues are seriously running out of options heading into the January schedule.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.