Thomas Tuchel breaks silence as Chelsea seal third Premier League place




Coach Tuchel

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says finishing third in the Premier League should be seen as a “miracle” given N’Golo Kante’s injury struggles.

The Blues’ 1-1 draw with Leicester puts them three points clear of Tottenham, in fourth, with a game to go.

Chelsea have a superior goal difference of 18 over Spurs.

Kante has missed more than half the season with various injuries and Tuchel said: “He is the guy who makes the difference.”

The German added: “I think he is our key, key, key player; but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch.

“He plays only 40% 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.”

Chelsea, beaten in the FA Cup final by Liverpool at the weekend, fell behind early on at Stamford Bridge when James Maddison curled a fine effort beyond goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

However, Marcos Alonso equalised towards the end of the first half when he was picked out superbly by Reece James and volleyed in.

Chelsea dominated the second half and had numerous chances to take all three points.

Hakim Ziyech went close with a free kick while Romelu Lukaku – who had been largely quiet – headed wide.

But Christian Pulisic failed to convert the best chance for a winner when he sliced wide from eight yards with the goal at his mercy.

The result means Chelsea stay third, three points ahead of Tottenham, but with a vastly superior goal difference.

Tuchel’s side finish the season at home to relegated Watford on Sunday (16:00 BST) while Leicester, who are ninth, will look cement a top-10 finish when they host Southampton at the same time.

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