Friday 20 September 2019

Sarri not for turning over Kante's new role

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Images
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Images Sportsdesk

Maurizio Sarri was frank in his criticism of N'Golo Kante after the midfielder's part in Chelsea's woeful display against Tottenham.

Spurs won 3-1 at Wembley to bring Sarri's 18-game unbeaten start to an emphatic end, and the mechanics of Chelsea's midfield came under particular scrutiny.

Kante has been playing in a more advanced role than the one in which he won two Premier League titles and a World Cup in order to make space for Jorginho, Sarri's £51m signing from former club Napoli, at the base of midfield.

There have been calls among fans and pundits for Kante to move back to a deeper role, but speaking ahead of Chelsea's Europa League group L meeting with PAOK tonight, Sarri insisted it was up to Kante to improve in his current position.

"I want to play a centre midfielder with a very technical player. For me the centre midfielder is Jorginho or (Cesc) Fabregas. I don't want Kante in this position. Kante in the last match wanted to solve the match after the first 15 minutes, but in the wrong way. He lost the position, he attacked too much the other box. And I think this one is not one of the best characteristics of Kante. It was only a reaction to the difficulties."

Eden Hazard will miss out on the match with an ankle injury, and although he is expected to be back for the derby against Fulham.

Elsewhere tonight, UEFA says it is working with the Football Federation of Ukraine (FFU) to make sure Arsenal's rearranged fixture against Vorskla Poltava goes ahead in Kiev. The venue for the Group E clash was switched from Poltava - around 300 kilometres east of the capital - after martial law was declared.

Irish Independent

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