Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has hailed the Frenchman N’Golo Kante’s presence in his side and hinted at building a team around the player known for high work rate. Praising his other qualities that fulfil his requirements in raising an offensive gameplay for Chelsea, Conte considers him a vital addition who seems to be bought for a bargain value. Furthermore, the manager has refused to blame the player for a rare mistake which led to a goal by Mesut Ozil, instead opting to look at the positives from the event.
N’Golo Kante was a leader of Leicester City’s Championship winning squad last season. Despite the transfer buzz, he was bought by Chelsea for £30 million which Conte believes is worth every penny.
"Yes, I think we did a good piece of business.
"I think he's a fantastic player who can play in a midfield three with two others, or in a two. He played in a two with Leicester last season and was very important. At Hull, he played with Matic together. In previous games, he played with Matic and Oscar or Fabregas, but I think he can play in both styles. Above all, he always plays very well."
N’Golo Kante is one of the only four players at Chelsea to have played every single minute of the seven matches in the Premier League so far. Expressing his penchant for a player of Kante’s qualities, Conte has made no secret of how important he is and will be in shaping the team to find a much-needed balance.
“N'Golo is an important player for the present and the future for Chelsea. He has a fantastic stamina and covers a lot of ground. This is very important for the balance when you play offensive football, and also to have a player who recovers the ball back very well, winning the ball. N'Golo is this type of player. He's very good."
In Chelsea’s game away at Arsenal where they got thrashed 3-0, N’Golo Kante got heavily criticised as he seemed to expose his weakness of indecisiveness which led to the third goal. However, Conte has refused to look at it this way and instead seen the bright spot which displays the player’s quality that the manager prefers.
"Sometimes N'Golo pays for his generosity," Conte said of the incident. "In this situation, he paid for it. He went late to stop the opponent, and [Ozil] turned and he passed him. But I prefer he made a mistake through generosity than another type of mistake. He went to go [and win the ball], not in the right time. But he went. I prefer he goes to stay and wait.
"He always shows his quality. It's logical that, during the game, you can make mistakes. But when you look at N'Golo when he plays, you can see the whole quality of this player. For me, he's very good."
N’Golo Kante will face his former club Leicester City on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.