After the rain comes the good weather. Under the Madrid deluge, this semi-final first leg between Real and Chelsea (1-1) was marked by the magnificent goal of Karim Benzema and the performance of N’Golo Kanté. The man with three lungs never stopped running. Tireless, we have seen it everywhere. In pressing on the ball carrier, in the construction with its small touches to shift its partners, and in the projection to bring the surplus. Elected man of the match by UEFA and our editorial staff, he will still be a player to follow in the return match, which will be commented live on our site.
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Tuchel wants to be careful
N’Golo Kanté is now an essential part of Thomas Tuchel. It was not won in advance, however, but as usual, the midfielder was able to make himself indispensable. Slightly injured when the German arrives at the head of the first team on January 26, he lived the first matches from the sidelines. Substitute in the first 5 Premier League matches, he must wait for the trip to Southampton on February 20 to finally start but the score of 1-1 and the poor collective performance do not speak in his favor. Back on the bench especially in the round of 16 to go against Atlético.
A curious management guided by the idea of preserving a slightly diminished player. Because Tuchel is a long-time fan of the world champion and has never hidden it. “I think N’Golo fits into the plans of any manager on the planet, explained the manager after starting Kanté for the first time in the Cup against Barnsley on February 10. In the past, I was desperate not to have him on my teams. See the guy live, how he works, how humble he is, the quality he gives to the team. I am so honored to be his coach. What I see on the pitch is everything I expected and expect a lot from him because I’m a huge fan. “
Passages on the bench not always explained
However, there comes a time when the Frenchman is back in shape and needs playing time as the important deadlines are fast approaching. Preferred to Kovacic at the Wanda Metropolitano, he finally enjoys continuity against Manchester United (0-0) and Liverpool (1-0), two very important meetings in the fight for qualifying places in the Champions League. “He (Tuchel) came with great ideas, his enthusiasm, his tactics, his experience. He tried to bring everything he did in the past. It’s working pretty well, we’re happy he’s here and we hope it will go well. I did a few passages on the bench, but the team wins and got back into the race for the Top 4. It is a pleasure to start this kind of match ”, assured to RMC the one whose weariness was beginning to appear.
As always, only physical glitches can slow down the former Caennais. Excellent on the return against Atlético, he was injured again with the Blues at the end of March, forcing Tuchel to stay ahead. And when he’s not there, it shows like the sinking against West Bromwich (5-2 loss). “It’s hard to imagine our game without N’Golo but at the same time we really have to be absolutely careful with him and his situation”, confided Tuchel following the player’s new injury. The coach is taking all precautions, as evidenced by the late entry into play of Kanté this weekend against Fulham to better prepare him at Stamford Bridge, where he will be determined to lead his team to the top and lift one of the very rare major titles which are missing from its immense prize list.