Thomas Tuchel was thrilled to report at his press conference ahead of the FA Cup final that Mateo Kovacic is fit again and available for selection.
The Croatian has not featured since picking up a hamstring injury in Seville before the second leg of our Champions League quarter-final tie against Porto last month.
During such a busy period Kovacic’s absence has been felt, and Tuchel underlined the significance of his return when he addressed the media via videolink this afternoon.
‘Kova is with us again,’ reported the boss.
‘It’s huge. Mateo has everything we need in midfield. He has experience, power, acceleration, deceleration, he can dribble with the ball and beat players, he is fast and has physical ability.
‘You could see when we missed Mateo and N’Golo in the same match we lacked quality and energy and experience. Billy [Gilmour] did a huge job in both games, but it’s still not fair to compare him to these players because they have more experience and they are a step ahead in their development.
‘It’s what we need in the key moments of the season at the end of the season. It’s big news for us Kova is back. He has a huge impact in the dressing room also and is a very positive guy.’
Kante wasn’t involved against Arsenal but Tuchel confirmed his availability
‘We took the decision together, N’Golo, me and the medical team, to give him the Arsenal match to rest and have treatment to the right Achilles, I think.
‘It was pain management, not a huge injury, nothing to be afraid of getting bigger. It was just there and it was a bit annoying.
‘He did all training sessions yesterday and today, no complaints. He will start tomorrow and very likely he will finish the game for us.’
We have two huge fixtures against Leicester in four days, and Tuchel was asked which is more important
‘I cannot judge it. These are two finals and we don’t think about anything else. We missed the chance against Arsenal to get a decisive advantage. We have to cope with it and first of all show a reaction in Wembley to have the upper hand on Tuesday.
‘It’s a bit curious we play two finals against the same team. It will be very tough and complicated, but we feel ready for it. It’s the moment to step up and enjoy on the highest level. By enjoying we mean hard work, suffer, and help each other out on the pitch.
‘I am not yet in the mode to enjoy it,’ added Tuchel.
‘I still have a bit of a hangover from the last defeat. It’s always like this. I am a bit more in angry mode, not at myself or the players, just because of the opportunity we missed.
‘When we arrive at the hotel I will hopefully transform it into a good preparation and push the team to the edge so they play sharp. This is my responsibility.
‘We have to show a reaction. It’s a big match, an FA Cup final, my first final here in England. It’s huge, but I will never get carried away with the emotions tomorrow. I am fully focused to prepare my team better than we did two days ago.’