‘He is our Mo Salah, he is our Van Dijk’ – Thomas Tuchel likens N’Golo Kante’s importance at Chelsea to two of Jurgen Klopp’s star men

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Thomas Tuchel has likened N’Golo Kante’s importance at Chelsea to that of Mo Salah and Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool.

The German manager was explaining how the the Frenchman’s lack of availability this term has resulted in his side struggling significantly, and he also went as far as claiming it’s ‘a miracle’ that the Stamford Bridge outfit are set to finish the Premier League season in third place.

The 31-year-old started in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw against his former side Leicester last night and Tuchel was keen to highlight the importance of the midfielder.

“I think he is our key, key, key player,” he said (via Sky Sports). “But key, key, key players need to be on the pitch and he has played only 40 per cent of the games, so it is maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place.

“He is our Mo Salah, he is our Van Dijk, he is our De Bruyne, he is our Neymar, he is our Kylian Mbappe.

“He is simply that player, the guy who makes the difference and if you only have him 40 per cent of the time it’s a huge problem.

“Given that percentage, it’s maybe a miracle how consistently we produced results and it puts everything into perspective because I saw Liverpool last season without Van Dijk and they struggled heavily.

“You see the difference. N’Golo is our key player and he needs to be on the pitch.”

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The German boss is certainly right to point out how much we struggled without the big Dutchman controlling our defence, but we also had our other defensive options out injured at the same time.

We were relying on Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams at the heart of our defence for large parts of last season, and although they did a great job and are a huge reason behind why we qualified for the Champions League, they were fifth and sixth choice respectively.

Every side feels the impact when their better players are missing but the former PSG boss still has a world-class squad to select from.

Kante is recognised as one of the best midfielders in the world by many, but his contract at the London club is set to expire at the end of next season.

With Tuchel stressing the World Cup winner’s importance to the side so much recently, Chelsea fans will be hoping he’ll be extending his deal beyond 2023.

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