Thomas Tuchel has insisted Chelsea can cope without injured “Superman” N’Golo Kante.
World Cup-winning France midfielder Kante has struggled with a string of frustrating injuries this season, but an unfazed Tuchel believes there is no link between the short-term concerns.
Mateo Kovacic will miss Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Zenit after testing positive for Covid-19, and will be a big doubt for Saturday’s Premier League clash with Leeds at Stamford Bridge.
Jorginho will hope to shake off a back issue in time for that encounter, while Kante’s continued absence has stretched the Blues’ resources in midfield.
Blues boss Tuchel hailed 30-year-old Kante as the envy of the footballing world, and rejected any worries about his recent spate of minor injuries.
“Me personally, I’m not so careful when to bring him back,” said Tuchel.
“It’s actually a very open relationship with him, he takes care about this and he needs his time. But we don’t have the feeling that it’s about age.
“He’s in general a careful person, he takes care about his body and does not want to take risks. And I agree he is the Superman, he is the guy who makes the difference, the guy everybody in the whole world wants to have in their midfield.
“And we miss him, for a long time. Can we produce results and top performances without N’Golo? Yeah we can, and we’ve proved it already.
“But it’s easier with him, and it’s easier if he does not lack for too many weeks. We built him up after his last injury, now we had an accident.
“This can happen, this is not related to age or to overload, this is simply an accident during a match and it happened against Juventus. But of course we miss him a lot.”
Home league draws with Burnley and Manchester United, coupled with Saturday’s 3-2 loss at West Ham, have seen Chelsea slip off the top of the table.
Tuchel remains confident Chelsea can hit back to their best however, especially if harnessing the frustrations of recent results.
“You have a certain anger in you that you don’t have when you win,” said Tuchel.
“You have a certain anger and ambition to turn things around, and it makes you instantly at first feel very bad.
“But it also brings out the need in me personally to step up and show a reaction. We try to avoid it because everybody hates to lose, but obviously it happens.
“We analyse the performance and data again and I don’t think it’s necessary to ask the big questions. But we need to step up in details, and do our details to our standards, and we need to do this on the highest level, relentlessly.
“We have some space where we can improve in the details but it’s not about the big picture in the moment. We dropped some points against Man United, we found the solution to win a game at Watford.
“We lost with a freak shot at the end of the game at West Ham. We’ve had this before that we’ve lost games. We don’t like it, but we are not worried. We know what to do to win games.”