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Thomas Tuchel Given A Boost Ahead Chelsea Vs Aston Villa And Champions League Final



N’Golo Kante’s chances of playing in the Champions League final were thrown into doubt following a recent injury scare, but Thomas Tuchel has offered a boost regarding his fitness.

France international was withdrawn after 32 minutes during Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Leicester on Tuesday, having complained of tightness in his hamstrings.

That led to fears Kante, 30, wouldn’t be ready to face Manchester City in Porto on May 29, but Tuchel has allayed concerns after saying his star will return to training soon.

Chelsea travel to Aston Villa in their final Premier League fixture of the season on Sunday, and Tuchel told reporters: “With N’Golo Kante it’s going to be very close but there are some hopes he joins team training tomorrow (Saturday).

“If not, he’ll join on Monday.”

The Blues sit third in the league and have all but secured their place in Europe’s first-tier tournament next term, though defeat at Villa Park could still see the club finish fifth.

Liverpool (fourth) and Leicester (fifth) each sit one point behind Chelsea ahead of the final matchday, hosting respective opponents Crystal Palace and Tottenham in their closing fixtures.

World Cup-winner Kante has made 47 appearances across all competitions so far this season, with only Mason Mount (52) and Timo Werner (50) managing more.

Mateo Kovacic replaced the Frenchman against former club Leicester and looks most likely to step into Tuchel’s XI in the event Kante doesn’t recover in time.

The German coach has been open in his admiration of the French favourite since moving to Stamford Bridge: “The guy is a top guy.

“He is the guy you need to win trophies and that’s why we’re are so happy he’s here and he’s at our club.

“I was dreaming about this player and fighting for this player, dreaming about this player in any club I was coaching so now he’s my player.

“He’s won every trophy except for Champions League, hopefully he will do everything that we get this trophy and for me he’s an example he’s an unbelievable input for any team in the world.”

Chelsea drew 1-1 at home to Villa when Frank Lampard was still at the helm in December, though Sunday’s guests will hope for an improved result following January’s change in management.

The Blues will be buoyed by the fact Villa can’t move from 11th in the league regardless of the result.

Dean Smith’s side ended a stretch of three games without a win by beating Tottenham 2-1 on Wednesday, hoping for another upset over London opposition to close their campaign.


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