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Thursday, April 7, 2022

N'Golo Kante claim denied by Thomas Tuchel after Joe Cole call on Chelsea man vs Real Madrid

  It's fair to say N'Golo Kante's first-half was not the best 45 minutes he has played in a Chelsea shirt. The French midfiel...

It's fair to say N'Golo Kante's first-half was not the best 45 minutes he has played in a Chelsea shirt. The French midfielder did not look at it against Real Madrid on Wednesday evening and Thomas Tuchel must have felt the same.

Kante started alongside Jorginho in a midfield two for the Blues, who welcomed Los Blancos to Stamford Bridge in the first-leg of the Champions League quarter-final. The France international completely dominated the Spaniards when the two clubs went head-to-head in last season's semi- finals.

However, that was not the case this time. The experienced trio of Toni Kroos, Casemiro and Luka Modric ran rings around the Chelsea midfield, forcing Tuchel into a change of shape at the half- time break.

Mateo Kovacic was perhaps a surprise omission from the XI, with the Croatian starting the game on the bench before being brought on at half-time. With Kante not in the best form going into the tie, there were even some calls to leave the 31-year- old on the bench .

The Chelsea midfielder doesn't look like himself at the moment, but despite this, the decision to take him off at the break left BT Sport pundits Steve McManaman and Joe Cole rather shocked. McManaman said:

"It must be an injury because he wasn’t as bad as Jorginho." Cole added: "He [Tuchel] needs to digest the game like he said, take it in, but there must've been a problem for Kante to come off at half time. Jorginho is not athletic, Kante who had a problem, so first half Chelsea had a real problem."

McManaman and Cole thought the only way Kante would be taken off by Tuchel is if he was injured. The reality was, however, Tuchel wanted to make a tactical change and he clearly was not impressed with Kante's display in the first-half.

"No, it was a tactical change. It's like always, it's never on one or two players," Tuchel said on the half-time double substitution that saw Kante and Andreas Christensen taken off . "It's on all of us. I am included in this.

"Like I said, individually we lost shape and challenges. Obviously, since the international break, we don't look the same and I don't really have an explanation as we were on a long winning streak and we were very competitive. The first-half was by far not good."

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