Kante: Preparation and understanding

N’Golo Kante has explained why he has become a better player since moving to Chelsea and the Frenchman has also looked ahead to today’s test at Brighton as we seek to return to winning ways in the Premier League.

Kante was outstanding as we won the title last season, and he recently beat off some stiff competition to be named the French Player of the Year for 2017. The consistency of his performances in midfield have helped to create the balance Antonio Conte wants from his side, and Kante says he has plenty to thank the boss for.

‘He has made me a better player,’ the 26-year-old said.

‘I have learned the way to work and the way to think. He is a winner. He wants all the players to think about how we play, and all the players know what we have to do in the games because we train for that every day. He always thinks of the little details.

‘My position in our system is to give protection to the back three, or the back five, to make the transition for the attacking players, and to always think about the balance of the team.

‘I have tried to improve my passing, my position in the final third, and to understand the movement of my team-mates.’

Kante has played next to a number of different central midfielders this season, and there is a chance that at some point today he could line up alongside a new face in the team, Ross Barkley.

‘He is a good player. I played against him when I was at Leicester and in my first season at Chelsea. He has the ability to score. He can play in different positions: he is a very good no.10 or no.8. He can help us achieve our target this season.

‘We have played 3-4-3, and 3-5-2 more often this season, so the key is to adapt,’ Kante added.

‘What we are trying to do is understand everyone’s roles. I’m just one man in the system. It doesn’t matter who plays alongside me. I haven’t changed the way I play. When a new player comes, it’s about understanding how the manager wants us to play.’

 Kante converted his penalty against Norwich on Wednesday night with aplomb

Today the task for Kante and his Blues brethren is to get the better of Brighton on the South Coast. We have drawn our past two league fixtures, against Arsenal and Leicester, and Kante is determined we get back on the victory trail in the weekend’s early kick-off.

‘We are going through a little bit of a difficult time, but as soon as we can get back to winning ways it will be very good.

‘We train hard and give our best in the games. If we continue working in this way, the win will come. It’s important to score goals, but one other important thing is to control the game and create more chances. If we can create more, we will have a better chance of scoring.  

‘It’s good to have played Brighton recently and to have won,’ Kante acknowledged with the Boxing Day success in mind. ‘We did a good game at home. We know the players we will play against. We remember the way they played.

‘The teams won’t have changed a lot because it’s just a month later, but we will have to prepare very well to come back with three points.’