Thomas Tuchel is confident that Édouard Mendy will start the Champions League final against Manchester City after scans indicated that the Chelsea goalkeeper’s rib injury is not serious.
Mendy, who went off at half-time during Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa, had tests on the injury on Monday and the early signs suggest Chelsea will not be forced to start Kepa Arrizabalaga against City. The Senegal international hopes to join in with his teammates when they return to training on Wednesday and Tuchel, who also expects to have N’Golo Kanté available, will give his No 1 goalkeeper as long as possible to prove his fitness before Saturday’s final in Porto.
“For Edu, the update is that we still have hope that he joins training on Wednesday and he joins the group,” Chelsea’s manager said. “We had huge improvement in the management of pain. We need a further update on Wednesday, but we hope to have him back in training on Wednesday.
“Edu will play if he is fit and if he is not fit on Wednesday we will try on Thursday. And we will try on Friday and take the responsibility for this decision. At the same time, we have trust if he cannot make it. We have a strong guy on the bench with Kepa.
“Now the race is on. We are very happy first of all that the images don’t show that the injury is too serious. We are positive but every hour counts and hopefully the team around Edu and he himself can do enough. It will be a good boost for us.”
Tuchel also suggested that Kanté, who missed the Villa game with a hamstring problem, would play against City. “I think about changing my tactics now and stop asking about N’Golo and just put him on the pitch in Wednesday’s training,” he said. “And don’t ask any more if there’s any problems. We will just put him in training and put him on the pitch when the game starts on Saturday. Maybe I will not speak to the doctors and physios any more so I hear no more doubts and no more complaints. But it looks good and I hope it stays like that.”
Chelsea qualified for the Champions League despite losing to Villa, but Tuchel is not happy that his side have lost three of their past four games. “It always concerns me when we lose,” he said. “It is not so easy get a grip on these losses.”