Since 1901

Chelsea's Kovacic, Kante could play in FA Cup final, says Tuchel

August 28, 2021 Chelsea's Reece James with Liverpool's Jordan Henderson after receiving a red card REUTERS

Chelsea midfielders Mateo Kovacic and N'Golo Kante could feature in Saturday's (May 14) FA Cup final against Liverpool after manager Thomas Tuchel said this was the time of the season to take risks.

Kovacic, who had recently returned from injury, was on the receiving end of a reckless tackle from Leeds United winger Dan James, who was shown a straight red card for his challenge in Wednesday's 3-0 Premier League win at Elland Road.

Tuchel said Kovacic had not picked up a new ankle injury but was suffering from heavy pain, while Kante is expected to train later on Friday after missing their last three matches through an unspecified injury.

"We will try it (training) today. Mateo wants to try it," Tuchel told reporters on Friday. "The medical department gave the green light to try it.

"The advantage is that the ligament is anyway torn from the last incident, so there is no new injury but there is heavy pain and it (the ankle) was heavily swollen.

"We are hoping that maybe time is enough that he makes it, but we will try in training and know more about it ... Unfortunately he has this injury before the FA Cup final because he was excellent in the match against Liverpool."

When asked about Kante's availability, Tuchel said: "He is also trying. He tried yesterday in team training and trained more or less everything.

"It was a reduced training session because of lot a long travel and fatigue of travelling ... we will also try today with him. He is keen to make it (to the game) and hopefully he makes it to training 100 per cent so that we can plan with him for tomorrow.

"It will be crucial for us and it's the moment to take risks."

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell remain sidelined with injuries and will miss Saturday's game at Wembley.

Tuchel, whose team are third in the league, said Chelsea want to give a "hard fight" to Liverpool, who remain on track for a haul of four trophies this season.

"You have to be spot on in these matches, they are such close matches lately ... it will be down to margins and details. We are facing one of the very best coaches and teams in the world. We are up for the fight."