That was your 62nd game of the season, Thomas, was that a tired performance today?
“Fair enough, but we were the better team and deserved to win. We did what was needed. We needed a point, and we got a point. We didn’t allow anything, no chances. We got punished by a shot from outside the box and created enough to win. We didn’t allow transition or chances for Leicester, so I am fine with the performance. It’s a bit of a broken record: we did not take what we deserved. I think that was ok what we did.”
The home form and the number of draws must be so frustrating when you think about what might have been?
“Yes, but not today. It’s the story of the season, we need an assist from a wing-back and a goal from a wing-back. You can see the numbers of our offensive players and the numbers [from the offensive players] that are in front of us.
“Still, today is the day that we secured third place. We have been the whole season in the top three, and when we keep in mind where we came from last season – ninth place and securing fourth place with the help of Tottenham in the last ten minutes of the season – this time, we took ourselves.
“We fought against Arsenal and Tottenham, who played for six weeks in one competition, and we are pretty much the opposite. So yeah, we had some obstacles to overcome and circumstances around the club that wasn’t easy, so full credit to the team. It was a huge step inconsistency for us.
“Maybe it does not feel 100% like this because the gap is so big to the team teams, but ok, we have stuff to and stuff to improve. We are the first to admit, and from here we go.”
How important is N’Golo Kante to the team next season and potentially beyond?
“I think he is our key, key, key player, but key, key, key players need to be on the pitch. He plays only 40% of the games then it is maybe a miracle that we arrive in third place. He is our Mo Salah, he is our Van Dijk, he is our De Bruyne. He is simply that player, he is our Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
“He is that guy who makes the difference, and if you only have him for 40%, then it is a huge problem. Given that percentage, it is maybe a miracle that he produces results. It puts everything into perspective as I saw Liverpool without Van Dijk last season, and they struggled heavily. You see the difference. N’Golo is our key player, and we need him on the pitch.”
Do you think you can solve N’Golo Kante’s physical issues, or is it something you have to live with?
“It’s to live with. It’s hard to live with. It’s important for him to be there and to have the rhythm. I think he played ok, but he can play so much better. But when was his last game he started? It was weeks ago. So he constantly starts getting rhythm, but once he has that, comes a little injury, and he’s out again.
“Last year, in the last five matches of the Champions League, he got the [man-of-the-match] trophy I mean, they almost handed him the trophy before the match. It was like this. This guy who gets man of the match in every Champions League game, he is only here for 40-something per cent of the matches. This is huge for us.
“We do everything to solve it. Of course, he as well. I don’t blame him, it is just a concern and a fact that we miss him a lot because he brings something that is unique in world football, and he has that ability to lift everybody up and make that difference. This is the challenge for him and for us.”
Is Kante up there with the best-ever Chelsea players?
“For sure he is. But I can only repeat myself. He can make the difference, but he can only make the difference if you are on the pitch and on your top level. This is our target for him, and he, anyway does everything. He is one of the very best. He is one of the very best midfielders in the world.”
Think he’s alongside Didier Drogba?
“For sure, but because he is not that obvious, he is not in the spotlight, he is even more important for a team because a guy like N’Golo with the mentality of a helper, a water carrier, this makes the difference and big teams and successful teams need this. That’s why we love him so much, and everybody wants to play with him and why we miss him so much when he is not there.”