N’Golo Kante has admitted he is more than happy to play in a forward midfield role for Chelsea.
Making his first start under Frank Lampard, Kante earned rave reviews for his display in the Super Cup loss to Liverpool.
Many Chelsea fans had expected the midfielder to be moved back to a more naturally defensive position following the departure of Maurizio Sarri, who used the Frenchman in an advanced role last season.
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However, the World Cup winner excelled on Wednesday and despite talk of an injury, played the entire 120 minutes and made eight dribbles, more than any other player on the pitch.
“I like to play in this position, this is where I played last year,” Kante said.
“The coach asked me to play in this position, I like to do it.
“I know what to do with my team-mates and we played a good game tonight.”
Lampard was quick to hail the performance of Kante, calling him a ‘machine’.
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“Well, he’s an amazing player. Amazing character, he just comes to play, he’s humble in his life but when he gets on the football pitch he’s a machine,” said the Blues boss.
“Of course he’s going to be hugely important. And this is a player that hasn’t trained much, had a swollen ankle two days ago when we played on Sunday evening and he’s wanted to play today and managed to cover 120 minutes and I think you saw what he brings to the team today.
“And there will be more because as I say he hasn’t trained much.
“But I’m delighted to work with him, I respect him so much as a player, and now it’s really nice to work with him and he’ll be big for us.
“He said to me at half-time in extra-time that his legs were finished, his legs were dead; and then he’s sprinting 50 yards to cover.”
The diminutive midfielder also showed his manager that no job was too big for him when he decided to try and mark Liverpool’s towering defender Virgil van Dijk.
It’s not just the manager he is popular with, both fans and his team-mates think a lot of him and Kante will face his former side, Leicester, on Sunday where Chelsea will be aiming for their first win of the season.
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