Chelsea vs. PAOK Salonika - Football Match Report

Football: Spurs stun unbeaten Chelsea in superb display

Football: Spurs stun unbeaten Chelsea in superb display

One player singled out for public criticism was N'Golo Kante, who was rebuked for roaming from his role on the right of midfield.

Kanté excelled as a defensive central midfielder for Leicester City as they won the Premier League in 2016 and then in the same position for Chelsea - after joining for £32 million - as they won the league the following season.

The 3-1 loss was Sarri's first defeat in a competitive game in charge of Chelsea.

The global break was mentioned as a potential reason behind Chelsea's laboured performance, with Sarri claiming the number of English players on Tottenham's books provided a small advantage.

Sarri was critical of Kante's display against Tottenham, saying he "lost his position" and "wanted to solve the match. but in the wrong way".

Of course, with one or two cracks beginning to appear in the system Sarri has based his managerial career on, his team selection will attract much speculation - probably too much. "I don't think we've seen the best of him in this role but I do think he can become like a Michael Essien, who can be fantastic in that role but also going forward, using his energy as a box-to-box midfielder". If the home tie plays out the same way Sarri will achieve what he set out to do back in September, but he knows the competition is a big strain on the resources of a team competing in the Premier League.

'For me the centre midfielder is Jorginho or (Cesc) Fabregas. I talk to them player by player.




"He has to work and he is very good in the one on one, but he has to move without the ball".

Olivier Giroud, Kante's teammate for club and country, has no doubt that his fellow World Cup victor will get on Sarri's wavelength sooner rather than later. It's very hard for me to understand why we played without determination in such an important match.

Rather than a regular team talk, Sarri chose to apply a more personable approach with the players.

"I want to find a space for him".

"He has some qualities that I like very much - his pace and he is not bad in front of goal as well".

Chelsea will play PAOK in their fifth Group L fixture in the Europa League this Thursday.

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