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Former Chelsea boss Lampard speaking about N’Golo Kante

What did Lampard say?

Speaking to the BBC, [coach 95] said, “When I arrived at Chelsea he’d been off the back of playing so regularly for a few seasons because everyone relies on him so much, he’d had an injury that took him into my first season, we missed him a lot.”

“You seriously miss N’Golo in big games because he’s a big-game player. Nobody will want to play against him because of the attributes he’s got.

“In those big games, finals, tournament football, players like N’Golo are just priceless.

“The main reason why he’s so good that he’s the best in the world at being a destructor. When I say destructor I’m talking about winning the ball back. To win the ball back with his anticipation, having the speed to get tight and close distances, his main attribute for me is destruction, leaving areas to win balls back.

“An old-fashioned holding midfield player you’d say would sit in front of the back four, Makelele did it years ago for Chelsea so well.

“But he has so much more to his game. When you see the distances he closes to get in front of people, that acceleration and speed, that is something special to him, it’s very unique.

“I got asked it a lot [about playing him as a strict defensive midfielder], my feeling was that he had so many attributes that were more than just that, I was holding him back by saying, ‘please just sit there.’

“You have to allow N’Golo to travel with the ball, he can find passes I think people don’t give him credit for, his close control in tight areas is fantastic as well.

“He can do multiple jobs at the same time. He makes people around him better, he helps everybody.

“He’s exactly how you’d expect from the outside, nothing’s an act, he’s very humble, very quiet, he doesn’t want loads of conversation.

“The problem I found with him more than anything was trying to hold him back in training because every day you train and you let him off the leash in an opposed session he does that, and you have to try to pull him back because he can just put that output into anything he does.

“He’s incredible, he’s exactly what you see from the outside.”

Kante’s position under Sarri and Lampard

When [team 42] completed the miracle in 2016, there was a little French fellow named N’Golo Kante who was critical to their success. His partnership with [player 921] in a functional midfield was massively effective.

The following season, he moved to [team 18] where he won the [league 8] in his first season with the Blues. [coach 455384]’s midfield was built around the creativity and vision of [player 510]. However, Fabregas was not as effective out of possession. They needed someone to complement Fabregas’s skills and who could be better at it than the French sensation. He is now discussed in the same bracket with the likes of Vieira, [player 768].

The big change happened when [coach 455926] came in as the new manager and he completely changed Kante’s position. From being a defensive midfielder whose job was to break up the opposition’s attack, to a more offensive position. Now, he was more of a box-to-box midfielder.

Sarri’s football philosophy was built around a deep-lying creative midfielder with a massive passing range. [player 129511], with whom he worked at [team 597] was signed. Kante’s job now was to be creative as well as destructive. The football world was shocked as the best player in his position was shifted to a different position. Jorginho, who is physically not strong enough to play in Premier League was struggling to replicate his performances from Italy. However, Sarri was reluctant to change anything.

Kante’s performances gradually improved but everyone knew that his position is not his anymore.

The following season, Lampard was brought in after sacking Sarri who moved to Juventus. The first thing that was expected from Lampard was to restore Kante’s position and use Jorginho differently. However, Lampard continued to use Jorginho as the deepest midfielder and [player 1193] was still playing in a more offensive role.

Lampard was sacked and [coach 523937] came in. He went on to win the [league 2] as he defeated [team 9] in the final. Tuchel did make a slight change in Kante’s role. Instead of a single pivot, the German decided to play a double pivot in 3-4-3 formation. Kante was now deployed in the exact position as he did under Conte.

Author: Devashish Akolekar

Lampard explained Kante’s situation during his time as the Chelsea manager.

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