Kante must focus on defending, insists Sarri
Posted On March 22, 2019
The World Cup winner scored the only goal as the Blues beat Crystal Palace on Sunday, moving his side five points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal
N’Golo Kante’s priority is defending according to Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, despite the midfielder taking on a more forward role this season.
The France international has played in a different position after Sarri brought in Jorginho, who played under the Italian at Napoli, which many pundits have claimed has negatively affected his performances.
Kante is not renowned for his attacking play, but put away a second-half chance in clinical fashion as the Blues claimed a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
When asked about Kante by reporters after the game, Sarri said: “He has to think about the defence first of all. Then he is improving, especially in movements without the ball. His movement today was really very good and was done with the right timing.
“When we have to play against opponents who are very low, it’s difficult for the striker and wingers to find space. So for us the midfielders’ movement without the ball is very important.
“Now we have to work on [Ruben] Loftus-Cheek and on [Ross] Barkley. Loftus-Cheek especially is a great player with the ball, but he can improve a lot in his movement without the ball.”
Kante has had huge success in a defensive-midfield position, winning back-to-back Premier League titles for Leicester City and Chelsea in 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively and the World Cup with France, so some have questioned why he has been moved.
Loftus-Cheek’s game time has been restricted under Sarri, despite an impressive loan spell at Palace last season and some promising cameos at the World Cup with England in the summer.
Barkley on the other hand has enjoyed his best form in a Chelsea shirt since joining the Blues from Everton for £15 million in January 2018.
The midfield has not been the biggest problem for Sarri since his arrival though, with the lack of a prolific centre-forward being more of a worry.
Sarri has admitted he prefers Hazard as the main striker rather than Alvaro Morata, who has managed five Premier League goals this season, or Olivier Giroud, who has only one.