Tuchel Provides Kante, Kovacic Fitness Updates Ahead of FA Cup Final


Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says he’ll have both N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic back fully fit tomorrow when his side battles Leicester City in the FA Cup final. It appears his squad will be fully fit now for the trophy fixture at the national stadium.

Kovacic has missed out on nine matches with a hamstring injury, while Kante missed the midweek loss to Arsenal with a painful Achilles issue.

FA Cup Final FYIs

Kickoff: Saturday May 15, Wembley Stadium, 5:15pm GMT

Team News:   Chelsea   Leicester City

Starting XI Predictions:  Chelsea   Leicester City

Chelsea FC news and notes: go here

Odds: Chelsea win 4/9   Leicester City win 7/4

TV, Streaming Info: BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate

Series history:  Chelsea wins 57  Leicester City wins 27  Draws 34

n'golo kante

“The whole group is available, Kova is with us again,” said Tuchel.

“It’s huge because Mateo has everything that we need in midfield. He has experience, power, acceleration, deceleration, he can dribble the ball and beat players. He’s fast, he has physical ability and he’s experienced in big games and in the Premier League.

“When we missed N’Golo and Mateo in the same match we lacked a lot of quality, energy and experience.

“Billy Gilmour did a huge job in both games but it’s not fair to compare him to these players because they have more experience and they are a step ahead in their development. It’s what we need in the key moments of the season. It’s big news for us that Kova is back, he has a huge impact in the dressing room around big matches.”

Having the two midfield men gives the German plenty of options now in his selection. The Blues will also come into this match with something to prove. Having fallen to Arsenal in the league in midweek, Tuchel says he’s angry, but in a good, motivation way.

“I am not yet in the mode to enjoy it: I still have a bit of a hangover from the last defeat so I am a bit more angry, when we will arrive in the hotel and tomorrow,” Tuchel continued.

“I am not angry at myself or the players, just that we got that result and missed an opportunity.

“Hopefully we can turn it into a good performance in preparation to push the team to the edge and let them play sharp. That’s my responsibility. We want to show a reaction and to have a reaction.

“This is it. It is a big match. It is at Wembley in an FA Cup final. It is my first final here in England and it is huge. But I will not get carried away with emotions tomorrow, I am fully focused to prepare my team better than we did two days ago.”

fa cup

Tuchel was asked if the Arsenal loss served as a motivation wakeup call for his side.

“Yes, it clearly did. And it’s a good thing because it means it’s very easy preparation,” he replied.

“We all feel that anger on ourselves on the missed opportunity and the performance that night against Arsenal. So it’s a good thing, in that it’s easy to prepare.

“Now the challenge is to focus, focus only on this match, focus on us and play on the edge.”

Prediction: Chelsea 2, Leicester City 1

The Foxes have reached this stage for the first time in 52 years, but we think it’s going to be Chelsea who add on to the trophy cabinet.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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