Rio Ferdinand believed that getting a prime N’Golo Kante back has been crucial to the unbeaten run that Chelsea is enjoying under Thomas Tuchel, speaking on Rio Ferdinand Presents Five.
Chelsea enters into the international break 13 games undefeated since Tuchel took over almost two months ago.
Many reasons can be given for this upturn in form.
A water-tight defence is perhaps the most obvious, having conceded just twice during that uninterrupted stretch of results.
Reintroducing some of the elder statesmen back into the fold is another.
Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta have all been put on a pedestal by the German coach.
Getting more out of the summer signings can also be merited. Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech are gradually beginning to prove why Chelsea forked out sizeable fees for their services.
But Ferdinand thought that putting Kante back as one of two midfielders is the vital ingredient for Tuchel’s recipe for success.
The former Manchester United man said: “One of the key things is having Kante central in that area of the field.
“The amount of balls he’s won back for that team to maintain possession and to maintain the position on the pitch has been phenomenal.”
Kante really has rewound the clock back to his Leicester City and first season at Chelsea days, where he was a one-man tackling midfield machine.
He absolutely destroyed Atletico Madrid during the Blues 1-0 Champions League win and was similarly destructive against Liverpool.
If the Frenchman stays fit and firing on all cylinders, there could be no end to Tuchel’s unblemished CV at Chelsea.
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I hadn’t really given much thought to Kante’s impact since coming back into the team, but now Ferdinand mentions it, the clearer it becomes.
He really was a man mountain versus Atletico, despite his miniature stature. He played with the shackles released, which was a joy to behold.
Tuchel recognises his worth and how to get the best out of him, which is clearly benefitting the player and his teammates.