Thomas Tuchel is hopeful Chelsea midfielders Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante will be available for Saturday’s FA Cup final against Liverpool and admits he is prepared to gamble on the duo’s fitness.
Kovacic looked set to miss the encounter having been forced off with an ankle injury after Daniel James’ red-card tackle in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Leeds on Wednesday.
But speaking at his pre-match press conference, Tuchel revealed Kovacic was expected to take part in Chelsea’s afternoon training session on Friday with a view to proving his fitness to face Liverpool.
“We will try it today, which is pretty surprising news,” he said on the Croatian international. “Mateo wants to try it and the medical department gave the green light to try it.
“The advantage is that the ligament is torn anyway from the last incident, so there is no new injury, but heavy pain. It was heavily swollen.
“We are hoping that maybe the time is enough that he makes it, but we will try it in training and then we will know more about it.”
Asked if Kovacic would require surgery at the end of the season to repair the damaged ligament, Tuchel added: “No. How I understood it as not an expert is that the high mobility [of his ligament] helped him to escape without a huge injury.”
Of Kante, who has missed Chelsea’s last three games with an unspecified injury, Tuchel said: “He is also trying. He tried yesterday in team training, hopefully now without a reaction.
“It was a reduced training session because of long travel and fatigue of the travelling, so it was not a high-intensity session. But he is keen to make it and hopefully he makes it to training 100 per cent so that we can plan with him tomorrow. That would be crucial for us.”
Asked if he would be willing to take a risk with either player given the importance of the game, Tuchel added: “It’s the moment to take risks.”
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Read More: Thomas Tuchel ready to gamble on Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante fitness in 2022-05-14 00:10:59