Chelsea coach to persist with Kante in unfamiliar role

Maurizio Sarri has suggested that N'Golo Kanté is not technically good enough to play in central midfield for Chelsea and has criticised the World Cup winner's performance in last Saturday's 3-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur.

Sarri's star man Jorginho, who also swapped Napoli for Chelsea during the summer, was particularly disappointing in the defeat given his impressive adaptation to the Premier League.

This was the point that television pundit Alan Shearer has stressed after the game at Wembley, with the ex-England worldwide saying that N'Golo Kante should have been stationed in front of the back four. "I see a normal midfielder player", Carragher told Monday Night Football.

"He lost his position".

"He was lost in the position, he attacked the other penalty area too much. I don't want Kante in this position", he said in a pre-match press conference ahead of facing PAOK in the Europa League.

Sarri has tried to use the Frenchman in a more attacking role than he is used to, with limited success.

Hazard has not scored in his last nine matches for club and country after a prolific start to the season, and Sarri said that he is concerned by the winger's loss of rhythm heading into a crucial stretch of the season. "If you go to the pitch with that approach and the opponents are very strong, like Tottenham, and determined like Tottenham were, the problem is bigger". He wasn't the only player who failed to deliver, but because we rely on his influence so heavily, we suffered with him being off the boil.

Goalkeeper: Sarri has picked Kepa Arrizabalaga in the previous group games but with qualification secured we could see the young Spaniard rested with Willy Caballero given a rare chance between the sticks.

Sarri described Chelsea's performance against Spurs as "a match without determination". Very hard. Somebody told me that, maybe, the worldwide break was a problem. A problem to be immediately ready at 100 percent.

"I talked player by player".

"I had a meeting of five or 10 minutes with the individuals, individual meetings with the players", Sarri said.

"I think I just twisted my ankle, but it's like every game, it's the same". We have to understand why, especially from the mental point of view. I wanted to understand this. We know it's not his main strength, but he's very important for us in recovering the ball.

"If you have no determination, maybe you have no motivation, and if you have no motivation, maybe you have no clear target in mind".

  • Stacy Allen