Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has refused calls to return Stamford Bridge star N'Golo Kante to the defensive midfield position that has brought both player and club so much success over the last two years, while also criticising the Frenchman for his role in the defeat to Tottenham.
Sarri has favoured £57m summer signing and former Napoli player Jorginho as Chelsea's defensive midfield shield so far this season, pushing Kante further forward as a result. This is because the boss insists he wants a more technical player at the base of his midfield.
Critics have commented that World Cup winner Kante is less effective in his new role, highlighting Jorginho's struggles in the resounding loss against Spurs. Yet Sarri is sticking to his guns.
"I want to play a central midfielder who is a very technical player, so for me, the central midfielder is Jorginho or (Cesc) Fabregas. I don't want Kante in this position," Sarri is quoted as saying by Sky Sports as he addressed the criticism of his team selection.
The manager also suggested Kante was at fault against Spurs because he was naively trying too hard to help get Chelsea back on level terms after going 2-0 down early on, lacked positional awareness, and was therefore guilty of leaving Jorginho isolated.
"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 explained.
"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. When the ball is on the left he has to stay very close to Jorginho."
Chelsea are in action in the Europa League on Thursday evening as PAOK visit west London.