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Thomas Tuchel singles out ‘incredible’ Chelsea star N’Golo Kante after booking Champions League semi-final spot

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Thomas Tuchel heaped praise onto ‘incredible’ N’Golo Kante after Chelsea booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League – and revealed his family love watching the French ace.

Tuchel’s side suffered defeat on Tuesday night at Stamford Bridge, with a spectacular overhead kick from Mehdi Taremi sealing a 1-0 win for Porto, but still progressed 2-1 on aggregate.

Liverpool or Real Madrid – who meet on Wednesday night – will await the Blues, with the Spanish side leading 3-1 after their first-leg meeting.

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Kante was the standout performer for Chelsea in what was a disciplined performance against Porto but may not have started the game had it not been for Mateo Kovacic suffering an injury in training the day before. But Tuchel was delighted with how the 30-year-old played and hailed his performance as ‘outstanding’.

‘In this situation [Kovacic’s injury], it was clear we use N’Golo,’ said Tuchel in his post-match press conference.

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‘We take the risk because now is the moment to take the situation and put him on the field and hope he can have the energy for 90 minutes.

‘N’Golo is incredible. He’s like one and a half or two players. Everybody who sees him for the first time loves him.

‘All my family love him when they watch our games now. It’s so nice to have him, he gives everybody confidence.

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‘We did it also for Kova. We’re not sure if we made N’Golo start today if we had everybody available but it’s also perfect and time to recover good.

‘He has a work rate which is outstanding. Absolutely outstanding. He gives everybody a good feeling and a lot of encouragement.

‘Now it’s time to recover good because Saturday is a semi-final.

Hopefully we catch some good sleep, we fly home tomorrow and then we will prepare for the next game.’

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