The Blues midfielder earned plaudits for his display against Liverpool on Thursday night and seems to be back to his best under his new manager
Thomas Tuchel has praised N’Golo Kante’s fitness levels, with the Frenchman having helped Chelsea to a crucial win over Liverpool on Thursday.
The 29-year-old created the only goal of the match as Mason Mount slotted home a brilliant curling finish to seal a 1-0 away win at Anfield and move the Blues into the top four.
Indeed, Tuchel has plenty of options for the defensive midfield area, with the German insisting that he is “super happy” with Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic.
What’s been said?
“It was clear from the first second of training what this guy is capable of doing,” Tuchel told reporters ahead of the visit of Carlo Ancelotti’s side. “It’s unbelievable.
“You see his intensity in the physical report after matches and you think they may have tracked two players and put it into the same sheet. He’s unbelievable in what he delivers in terms of intensity, in terms of ball recoveries, his devotion to the group is world-class, at the highest level.
“I am very, very happy he is in our squad. He has come back from an injury so he will not play every 90 minutes before the international break. We will manage him and we do that with the physical coaches.
“We have to take care that he is fit until the international break and when he comes back, we hope he has the momentum where we can rely on him in every game.
“I’m very happy to have him, Jorginho and Kova (Mateo Kovacic) in defensive midfield. This is exactly the level we need to win games. So, I am super happy with all of them.”
Christensen earns high praise
Andreas Christensen produced a man-of-the-match performance against Liverpool although with Thiago Silva set to return from injury soon, Tuchel will have a difficult decision on who to play in the middle of his defence.
The German has, however, been hugely impressed with what he’s seen from the Denmark international, who is likely to start once against in the Blues’ meeting with Everton on March 8.
“Andreas stepped in in the middle of the first half against Tottenham, which was a really tough thing to do, and from the first minute, he’s been absolutely impressive,” Tuchel said.
“He’s brave, strong in individual challenges, brave and intelligent in the build-up, and plays with a lot of confidence. I am absolutely happy with his performances and how he’s stepped up. He’s been a big part of our performances.”
What’s the situation in the race for the top four?
Chelsea climbed back into the Champions League spots after their victory at Anfield on Thursday night but two of the chasing pack, Everton and West Ham, both have a game in hand.
The win over Liverpool opened up a four-point gap ahead of Jurgen Klopp’s side with 11 games to go but Tuchel has acknowledged Everton’s potential to break into the top four after their 1-0 away win at West Brom.
“There is only one-point difference between the teams,” he said. “Everton had a very strong start to the season and a big win at Anfield that from there kept the momentum going. Very strong squad. Very physical. Full of talent.
“Strong strikers, dangerous No.10 with James [Rodriguez], strong experienced players, super-strong manager at the sidelines. Carlo knows how to keep the momentum going, how to keep the flow going.
“It is good that these games are on and it is good that we have the next big, big match because that drives us, gets us out of bed early. Then it is a very natural process to be at our top-level again because you don’t need many words.
“The situation is very clear. It does not change. We will need the next top-level performance to be able to win and this is what we are up for at Stamford Bridge.”