Tuchel to bide time on Kante

05 May 2021 01:59:29 GMTPlus10

Thomas Tuchel admits "it is hard to imagine" omitting N'Golo Kante from Chelsea's crunch Champions League quarter-final showdown with Porto, and says he will leave it as late as possible before deciding on the Frenchman's fitness.

Kante, who tweaked a hamstring while on international duty with France, was on the bench as Chelsea beat Porto 2-0 in the first leg in Seville last week courtesy of goals from Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell.

The French World Cup winner came on for the last ten minutes and was also a second-half sub in Saturday's 4-1 triumph at Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Tuchel sad he was delighted that Kante proved himself fit enough to make the squads for the last two games but confirmed the midfielder is not 100 percent fit for the second leg, also in Seville. And that leaves him with a difficult choice to make.

"I was unbelievably happy when he told me he would travel with us last week to Seville, because I didn't expect it," the Chelsea chief told the club's official website.

"Normally it is hard to imagine a game like this without NG [Kante], but at the same time we need to be absolutely careful about him and that we don't take risks with his health and with his injury situation.

"The question tomorrow is whether we want him to start or whether we want him to finish the game because there is also the possibility that it will go to 120 minutes. This is the question and honestly it is not answered yet, I will do this tomorrow morning."

Chelsea are 1.80 shots to complete the double over Porto and move into the last four of the Champions League. The Portuguese side are a 4.33 chance.

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