‘Key players need to play’ – Tuchel reacts to N’Golo Kante’s absence

N’Golo Kante
Photo: Robin Jones/Getty Images

Thomas Tuchel had travelled with a 29-man squad for a pre-season tour of the US.

Neither N’Golo Kante nor Ruben Loftus-Cheek were included in the squad ahead of the club’s pre-season tour of America.

Current regulations in the US stipulate that anyone wanting to enter the country must have taken the Covid-19 vaccination.

Loftus-Cheek and Kante are yet to take the vaccination, and will remain at Cobham while the rest of the team battle it out in the US.

“N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will not travel due to their Covid vaccination status,” Chelsea confirmed in a statement.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is unhappy with the fact that Kante will miss a bulk of pre-season football.

Tuchel considers Kante a key man for the club, and would have loved it for him to have a good pre-season with his team-mates.

He said: “N’Golo Kante knows what pre-season is all about and for him especially it gives us the possibility to build him up very individually.

“N’Golo Kante has coaches there in London who take care of him and he is integrated in the Under-23 and Under-19 training so he also has team training.

“We need N’Golo Kante to have more minutes on the pitch. He is one of our key figures and the key players need to be on the pitch, otherwise they cannot be key players, so this is how we are handling things at the moment.

“We don’t blame people and don’t put the finger on them.

“There’s a personal decision to take and both of them took their personal decision.

“It doesn’t matter if I understand it, if I like it or, for the professional life, it’s a disadvantage right now. We would have liked both of them here.

“Once we knew, we needed to provide the best solution, which is to provide training at Cobham on a high physical level.

“They will be fit when we are back there.”