N’Golo Kante says he enjoyed the challenge of adapting to a new midfield role under Maurizio Sarri, and says he liked playing in his new position.
As Sarri implemented his 4-3-3 system at Chelsea with summer signing Jorginho occupying the deeper role, some sections of the Blues’ support were annoyed to see Kante shifted into a more advanced role.
It remains to be seen what sort of role he will be assigned under new boss Frank Lampard, but the 2018 World Cup winner might now be a better player for the experience of the last campaign.
“The new role stemmed from our 4-3-3- system,” Kante told Yahoo Sports. “It’s been a few years since I played in a team with two flat midfielders.
“Then, I found myself playing with a single number six and two number eights. By repeating patterns of play in training, in matches and with advice from the coach, I think I managed to adapt.
“I like this position, it allows me to join in with attacks and have a role when the team goes forward. There is a bit more pressing high up the pitch but I like it.
“In this position, sometimes the game is behind you and you have less time than in the number six role. You have to orient yourself properly and apply yourself technically. I like this challenge and I like this position.”
The 28-year-old is going into his fourth season at Chelsea, but has only spent one of those campaigns playing in the Champions League.
They secured qualification by finishing third in the Premier League last season, adding a Europa League win for good measure.
With two league titles to his name, Kante wants another chance to test himself at the very highest level and is hoping to improve on the Blues’ last showing.
“Everyone knows what this competition represents for footballers,” he added.
“I had the chance to play in it once before with Chelsea but we went out in the last 16 against Barcelona. I hope we will be able to further this season.”