Mendy on the mend: Chelsea boss upbeat about keeper’s Champions League chances

Manchester City v Chelsea – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Thomas Tuchel believes Edouard Mendy has already made “huge improvement” in his battle to be fit for Saturday’s Champions League final.

Mendy suffered rib damage when colliding with the post as Bertrand Traore found the net in Aston Villa’s 2-1 Premier League win over Chelsea.

Senegal goalkeeper Mendy was forced out of the Villa Park clash at half-time, with Spain stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga joining the fray.

Aston Villa v Chelsea – Premier League – Villa Park

Edouard Mendy, pictured, clutches his ribs after colliding with the frame of the goal against Aston Villa (Nick Potts/PA)

Chelsea boss Tuchel was relieved to receive test results confirming Mendy had avoided any serious injury.

And now the 29-year-old faces a race against time to be fit for the Manchester City showdown in Porto.

“For Edou, maybe the update is that we still have hope that he joins training on Wednesday and he joins the group,” said Tuchel.

“He’s made a huge improvement in the management of pain.

“So we need a further update on Wednesday but we hope to have him back in training.”

Mendy boasts an impressive 26 clean sheets in 43 appearances since joining Chelsea from Rennes in September.

And Tuchel conceded that having one of his key performers back fit in time to face Pep Guardiola’s Premier League champions would offer a big boost for the Portugal clash.

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“Edou will play if he is fit, and if he is not fit on Wednesday we will try on Thursday, and on Friday, and be always reasonable and take the responsibility for this decision,” said Tuchel.

“At the same time we have trust if he cannot make it, because we have a strong guy on the bench in Kepa who can start.

“So now the race is on, we are very happy first of all, the images don’t show anything too serious. So every hour counts now, every day counts.

“And hopefully the team around Edou and he himself can do enough that he will be on the pitch. It would be a big boost for us.”

Chelsea’s other injury concern revolves around N’Golo Kante, with the France World Cup-winner battling to recover from a hamstring issue.

Chelsea v Leicester City – Emirates FA Cup Final – Wembley Stadium

N’Golo Kante, pictured, still hopes to be fit for Chelsea for the Champions League final (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)

Tuchel joked he will stop asking questions and just send Kante back into action, before insisting he still expects the midfielder to be fit in time to start on Saturday.

“For N’Golo nothing has changed, I think about changing my tactics now to stop asking about N’Golo and just put him on the pitch in Wednesday’s training,” said Tuchel.

“And don’t ask him any more if there are any problems, just put him in training, and put him on the pitch when the game starts on Saturday.

“And maybe I will not speak to the doctors and the physios any more so I hear no more doubts, no complaints or nothing.

“So maybe I need to think about changing my tactics! But it looks good and I hope it stays like that.”

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