Following the pre-match news that Kai Havertz had picked up a hamstring injury (of unknown severity), joining Andreas Christensen in the treatment room, and that Mateo Kovacic was still only fit for bench duty upon his return to the squad after a monthlong absence, the last thing we needed were more injuries, especially to two of our most important players, Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante.
Fortunately, it looks like both of them will okay — though it might be wise to rest the latter for Aston Villa on Sunday to make sure he’s good to go for the Champions League final in ten days. Mount, fresh off his Chelsea Player of the Year award, was able to walk off what looked for a very scary minute like a serious injury as his knee got hit on the inside and buckled as he was contesting a 50-50.
While Mount eventually played the whole game, Kante lasted only 30 minutes, and as Thomas Tuchel revealed after the match, asked to be subbed off as he felt he was right on the verge of pulling his hamstring.
“N’Golo is not injured. He told me – and I understood him right in French – he went out before an injury. He felt his hamstrings and was worried that he would get injured if he continued to play. So we put Kova in and that was a risk because he was more or less on the bench for 20 minutes, but he played 60.
“We took some risks but it was the moment to take risks as it was a game of the highest importance at the end of the season. I am happy it worked out. Hopefully, NG will come back as we are a different team with NG and without NG. We compensated very well without him today.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London
Tuchel might claim that Kante is “not injured” technically, but his comments make it clear that it’s not an ideal situation. Kante has had to deal with similar soft tissue injuries ahead of all of our recent finals so we have to tread carefully and smartly and without again continuing this vicious cycle.
For what it’s worth, it sounds like this is a different issue from the Achilles problem that saw Kante take a “pain management” day last week when he missed the Arsenal defeat.