Antonio Conte is looking forward to making some tough decisions in midfield following the signing of N’Golo Kante last week.
The Italian made the French midfielder his second signing since becoming Chelsea head coach, adding him to a group brimming with talent.
Speaking publicly for the first time since Kante joined from Leicester, Conte explained he was delighted with the deal.
‘N’Golo is an important player and for this reason we bought him. He played a fantastic season with Leicester, for me a good Euros, and now I can’t wait to see him and work with him, and transfer my idea of football to him and find a different solution.
‘Kante is a good player and he was a target of our market. I am pleased the club took this player, it’s fantastic,’ said the 46-year-old. ‘The players in a great team like Chelsea must know there are many players that can play. It’s important for me to have a good choice to try the best solution game by game. It’s important for me to see always the right attitude and behaviour from the players.
‘When I have players like N’Golo, Nemanja, Cesc, Oscar and Chalobah, and Mikel who is in the Olympics, it is not easy to choose. I want to have this problem.’
Conte also responded to questions on Nemanja Matic’s future, insisting the Serbian remains integral to his plans.
‘Matic is an important player for me, a very important player. In my idea of football he is an important player and he knows this,’ he said. ‘I am delighted with his attitude and behaviour and I see in him a great commitment. I know with his work he can become a fantastic midfielder, one of the best in the world in my opinion.’
Attitude and team spirit have been among Conte’s key focus points since his arrival, and he is clearly happy with what he has seen so far. He used Kante’s former club as an example of their value.
‘The spirit is always important in a team. You can have a fantastic player but if there isn’t a team, a good spirit, then it’s very difficult to win,’ he said. ‘I know this, in my experience I learned this. You can have a lot of talent but if you don’t find the right alchemy in a team it’s very difficult to win the league. Leicester last season showed us it’s very important.’
It is so far so good in California. Conte will want to see more from his players when they meet Liverpool on Wednesday night, with more thoughts from the manager to come on the morning of the match.
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