N'Golo Kante: Thomas Tuchel says it is a 'gift' to coach Chelsea midfielder, who will start against Barnsley

Thomas Tuchel says it is a “gift” to coach Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante, who he believes would “fit into every manager’s plans”.

Chelsea head coach Tuchel also confirmed the France international will start for the first time under him in Thursday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Barnsley.

Kante missed six games for Chelsea after suffering a hamstring injury in the 3-1 Premier League loss to Manchester City a month ago, but he returned to the side as a substitute in the closing stages of victories over Tottenham and Sheffield United.

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Tuchel, who replaced Frank Lampard at the end of January, is unbeaten in his first four matches as Chelsea boss and is delighted to have a fully-fit Kante at his disposal.

“I think N’Golo fits into every manager’s plans on the planet,” Tuchel said ahead of Chelsea’s trip to Oakwell.


“I was desperate to have him in my team. He’s a Chelsea player, a big Chelsea player and one of the best midfielders in the world.

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“I’m so lucky to have him in my squad and I’m so lucky he’s back again. When you look at his performance after injury against Tottenham, he just did what he always does – helps everybody on the pitch with his support, his mentality and his quality.

“If you see the step he took between the Tottenham match and the 20 minutes against Sheffield, it was huge.

“I’m very, very impressed. I’ve known him for many years because we both came from French clubs. To see him on TV and to now see him live, to see how he works, how humble he is and the quality he gives to this team here, it’s a gift to be his coach and I’m super happy.

“He will start tomorrow. He’s an outstanding player who we absolutely need in a strong squad and a big club like Chelsea.”

    Chelsea travel to Barnsley in the FA Cup fifth round on Thursday before hosting Newcastle in the Premier League on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports from 7pm; kick-off 8pm.

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