November 29, 2018 / 4:47 AM / 17 days ago

Sarri rules out Kante switch to Chelsea central midfield

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Europa League - Chelsea Training - Cobham Training Centre, Stoke D'Abernon, Cobham, Britain - November 28, 2018 Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri and N'Golo Kante during training Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

(Reuters) - Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante will not be moved back to his preferred position in central midfield as the role is more suited to technical players such as Jorginho and Cesc Fabregas, according to manager Maurizio Sarri.

Kante emerged as a leading deep-lying midfielder in recent seasons, winning back-to-back Premier League titles with Leicester City and Chelsea as well as helping France claim the World Cup, but Sarri said he had to adapt to an advanced role.

“I want to play a central midfielder who is a very technical player, so for me, it’s Jorginho or Fabregas. I don’t want Kante in this position,” Sarri told reporters ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Greek side PAOK Salonika.

Chelsea head into the contest on the back of a 3-1 league defeat by Tottenham Hotspur, their first loss of the season, where Kante and Jorginho struggled to influence the game.

The result saw Chelsea drop to fourth in the standings and Sarri criticised 27-year-old Kante’s performance.

“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,” Sarri added.

“This one is not one of the best characteristics of Kante, but it was only in reaction to the difficulties. Maybe it’s only a question of time, but Kante has to stay near to Jorginho, especially when the ball is on the other side.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien

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