Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said he made a “big step” in trying to keep N’Golo Kante fit for the new season after missing 50 percent of games last term.
There were rumours about his exit during the summer transfer window, but it has been obvious that Lampard sees the 29-year-old as an important member of his squad.
Along with Timo Werner, Kante is one of only two Chelsea players to have played in every Premier League game so far.
Lampard admitted that he has had to tweak the midfielder’s training routine and his game management in order to avoid what happened to Kante last season.
Speaking in his post-match press conference after the 4-1 win over Sheffield United on Saturday, Lampard told the reporters (via HaytersTV): “He played about 50 percent of the games last year, if you added it all up, and it was a big loss for a half a season, a player of his level.
“I made a big, big step to try to manage his training and games, making sure we keep him as fit and ready for games as we can.
“He’s shown it in the last couple of games he’s played that he’s N’Golo Kante.
“His attributes are incredible. He can play various positions in midfield. He has energy, the ability to win the ball back but also ability on the ball — that is sometimes underrated.”
Lampard insisted that, despite many arguments about Kante being a defensive midfielder who should play in a deeper role, the France international is capable of doing various jobs.
“I’m pleased he is fit now and we will keep managing that,” he added.
Billy Gilmour’s return to the team would be a big help when Lampard needs to rest Kante and, fortunately, the teenager has been back in training.
Until Gilmour is fully ready to start, Lampard will likely have to rely on Kante, as suggested by the fact the Frenchman has missed just eight minutes of action in the Premier League so far.