Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has addressed N’Golo Kante’s recent position at the base of midfield three and the competition for midfield spots.
Jorginho’s Premier League suspension provided Lampard the opportunity to experiment with Billy Gilmour and Kante in the defensive midfielder role.
So far, Chelsea bagged five wins from five games in Jorginho’s absence, including three recent victories with Kante at the base of the midfield.
While many say that Kante’s displays were reminiscent of former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makelele, Lampard insisted that they both played different roles.
He told Chelsea’s official website: “It is a different position to what I’m asking from Kante to what Makelele played. With eras and the players around you that changes.
“With N’Golo I have a way I want us to work in midfield to have some fluidity to us, which allows N’Golo to bring his best attributes to the game.
“They are not always to sit in front of the back four.”
Lampard explained how the France international’s capacity to run, he’d want to give Kante the licence to roam.
“N’Golo’s attributes and his absolute quality mean he can play in any position you want him to,” he added.
“He is an incredible player and is huge for this club, and he will be going forward for a long time. I’m happy with him.”
However, Lampard also praised Kante’s displays in a deeper position and spoke about the midfield competition.
He said: “It’s not just about N’Golo, it’s about the other players in the squad. We have a lot of competition in midfield, and at the moment N’Golo is doing a really good job for us there.”
Is Jorginho at risk of losing his midfield spot?
This could push Jorginho, who has made 26 Premier League appearances so far, back in the pecking order.
Last season, Maurizio Sarri openly said Kante lacked the technical prowess he wanted for his holding midfielder.
Lampard followed his predecessor’s blueprint and fielded Kante on the right side of the midfield three.
But with three wins with Kante at the base since the Premier League restart, Lampard may stick with the winning formula.
The biggest obvious advantage of having Kante in a deeper position is that it gives Lampard the option to add two more creative midfielders in front of him such as Mateo Kovacic, Ross Barkley and Mason Mount.
With Jorginho, Chelsea would likely have better transitions from the back, but the Italy international also needs more protection from the other two midfielders when defending.
Lampard can use the pair interchangeably depending on the opponents, especially with the upcoming busy fixtures.