Chelsea news: Third place finish 'a miracle' given N'Golo Kante absences, says Thomas Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel was left thinking what might have been for Chelsea had N'Golo Kante not struggled with injuries this season.

Thomas Tuchel has described Chelsea's third place finish in the Premier League as "a miracle" given N'Golo Kante's injury problems.

Chelsea drew 1-1 with Leicester at Stamford Bridge on Thursday to seal third place in the Premier League courtesy of a Marcos Alonso strike.

Midfield star Kante was restored to the Chelsea starting line-up against his former club at the end of what has been a frustrating season for him.

The Frenchman has missed more than half the campaign with a variety of different niggling injuries, and Tuchel believes his absence should only serve to boost the perception of his side's achievements.

"I think he is our key, key, key player; but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch," Tuchel explained.

"He plays only 40 per cent of the games. So it's maybe a miracle that we arrived in third place.

"Because he is our Mo Salah, he is our (Virgil) Van Dijk, he is our (Kevin) De Bruyne, he is simply that player.

"He is our Neymar, he is our Kylian Mbappe; he is the guy who makes the difference.

"And if you only have him 40 per cent it's a huge problem.

"Given that percentage it's maybe a miracle of how consistent we produce results and puts everything into perspective.

"Because I saw Liverpool without Van Dijk last season and they struggled, heavily. And you see the difference.

"So N'Golo is our key player, and he needs to be on the pitch."

Asked if Chelsea can solve Kante's injury problems, Tuchel replied: "I hope so. It's hard to live with, because it's important for him to be there and have the rhythm.

"I think he played OK, but he can play so much better.

"He can play so much better, but when was his last game that he started, it was weeks ago.

"So he constantly starts getting rhythm, then once he gets rhythm comes a little injury and he's out again.

"Imagine last year, he was in the last five matches of Champions League man of the match.

"I mean they handed him the trophy before the match, because it was clear when he played he would be man of the match. It was like this.

"And this guy who gets man of the match in every Champions League game, he's only here for 40-something per cent of the match.

"This is huge for us. We do everything to solve it, and of course him as well.

"I don't blame him, it's a concern and it's a fact that we miss him a lot. Because he brings something unique in world football.

"He has that ability to lift everybody up and make the difference. And this is the challenge for him, and for us."

READ MORE: Chelsea still 'in talks' over Cesar Azpilicueta future, confirms Thomas Tuchel

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