Tuchel suggests Chelsea star had to play in FA Cup final with swollen ankle

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel highlighted N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic’s fitness problems after Saturday’s FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool.

The midfield pair’s involvement in the game was part of Tuchel’s decision to take risks for the final.

The final result is disappointing, of course, to lose another final through a penalty shootout to the same team in the same season, but both Kovacic and Kante still played important roles in the game.

Tuchel, however, argued that despite Fabinho’s absence, Liverpool actually arrived at the final with a better squad.

Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

“They [Liverpool] arrived with a big squad, everybody but Fabinho, in a good rhythm,” the German said in his post-match press conference (via Football London).

“We had many players out and N’Golo with one training session and Mateo playing with an ankle that I didn’t know it was possible to fit into a shoe.

“This is where the gap comes from.”

Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

It was pretty obvious that neither Kovacic nor Kante was at their best, although Jorginho’s outstanding performance certainly made up for it.

Taking Kai Havertz and Timo Werner’s unexpected injuries into account, Tuchel might have had a fair point.

Obviously, Liverpool also suffered after Mohamed Salah had to leave the pitch early due to an injury.

Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.