N’Golo Kante’s tireless 90 minutes against Atletico Madrid was a performance that epitomized the best of a defensive midfielder in his prime.
Kante was a pervasive nuisance in the flow of Atletico’s play, forcefully retracing, as always, to negate the visitor’s attacks and relentlessly pressing to regain possession.
He put on a full performance that drew praise from his manager, who called him a “gift” to have. Speaking to the press at Chelsea’s post-match conference, via chelseafc.com, Tuchel spoke about the genius of the midfielder:
“If you play with Kante, you always play with at least half a man more because he gives a volume of intensity that is simply exceptional and it is unique. It is a pleasure to be a coach for him and it is a great gift for me.
Such a humble guy and doesn’t underestimate his quality in passing, dribbling and dodging pressure. There are still things to improve with him but it’s fantastic to have him.
The Frenchman completed four of the seven dribbling attempts, with a 57% success rate. He also completed 81 passes, including two key passes, with a remarkable 87.1% success rate. (whoscored.com).
– Talk about Chelsea (@talkchelsea) March 17, 2021
But, defensively, that’s where he shined the most – making two key interceptions and forbidding any dribbling in front of him.
Former Chelsea player Joe Cole also praised after the game on BT Sport where he works as an expert.
“The players don’t get around it. It’s like having two men in there. He looks about five years younger again. (Evening standard)
Chelsea’s fantastic 13-game unbeaten streak has arrived with Tuchel scoring a historic record. His next opponents might not prove to be as tough as those he has already faced in recent weeks, but he will nonetheless be looking to continue his side’s undefeated start under his rule.