Thomas Tuchel insists ‘now is the time to take calculated risks’ as Mateo Kovacic hopes to play through the pain barrier in the FA Cup final, while Chelsea will also try and get N’Golo Kante involved for Liverpool clash
- Chelsea have some injury doubts going into the FA Cup final against Liverpool
- Mateo Kovacic hobbled off against Leeds after a nasty tackle from Dan James
- N’Golo Kante has been out of action with an injury in the last three league games
- Thomas Tuchel is hopeful that both men will feature on Saturday afternoon
Thomas Tuchel has revealed he may yet have key Cup Mateo Kovacic available for tomorrow’s FA Final against Liverpool.
Kovacic limped off in the first half of Chelsea’s Premier League win against Leeds on Wednesday after a red card tackle by Daniel James.
But the Croatian has responded better than expected to treatment on what Tuchel revealed to be an old injury and the Chelsea manager said: ‘He wants to try it. The medical department have given him the green light to train.
Thomas Tuchel hopes to have Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante fit enough for the FA Cup final
Kovacic had his ankle wrapped up following Chelsea’s comfortable victory over Leeds
‘There is no new injury, just a lot of heavy pain. We are hopeful he will make it. He has been exceptional this season in games against Liverpool.’
He added: ‘The ligament is anyway stretched from the last incident, so there’s no new injury but heavy pain, and it’s heavily swollen.
‘We’re hoping that maybe time is enough that he makes it. But we will try it in training and then we will know about it some time after that.
‘In the game (at Leeds) he was very, very good and in general he has stepped up again.
Leeds winger Dan James was sent off for his reckless challenge on the Chelsea player
Kante (right), meanwhile, has not featured for Chelsea in their last three Premier League games
‘The quality and personality, his dribbling, carrying the ball, driving with the ball is excellent, a top team player.
‘He knows what it takes to also sometimes put the ego aside and serve the team, he’s a fantastic guy and player.’
The German had claimed after the Elland Road clash that Kovacic would almost need a ‘miracle’ to be fit in time for the FA Cup final.
Chelsea will also try to push N’Golo Kante into sufficient fitness to feature against Liverpool, with France’s World Cup-winning player having also struggled with injuryniggles in recent weeks.
‘We will try for N’Golo,’ said Tuchel. It is the time now to take calculated risk, with it being the cup final.’
Ahead of Saturday’s cup final, Tuchel said that ‘now is the time to take calculated risks’
Tuchel and his players are seeking revenge on Liverpool after they lost February’s Carabao Cup final on penalties to Jurgen Klopp’s team.
His preparations have not been helped by comments from Romelu Lukaku’s agent suggesting that he will seek an meeting about the striker’s future with Chelsea’s new owner this summer.
Tuchel said: ‘Maybe if he has a plan to talk to the owners then maybe it’s not his plan to talk to me.
‘I was only aware of the comments five or ten minutes ago. Sometimes you get situations you don’t want to hear about before a big game. But it’s not a problem for me.’
They face Liverpool who beat Chelsea in the final of the Carabao Cup back in February
The sanctions against owner Roman Abramovich have left Chelsea unable to buy any cup final tickets for academy players and parents, given the club’s strict temporary UK Government license.
But Tuchel revealed that Chelsea’s staff and players put their hands into their own pockets to buy tickets so that many people connected to the club can attend the Wembley showdown.
‘Well, listen, that’s what we did,’ said Tuchel. It’s a big competition and it’s one club, and normally the club would buy these tickets, for parents and players of the academy. So we stepped in and bought the tickets for them.’