The Blues boss saw the World Cup winner put in another impressive performance against Newcastle, with the Frenchman thriving after shaking off knocks
Frank Lampard claims to have “so much faith” in N’Golo Kante after seeing the Chelsea midfielder face questions of his form, fitness and future.
Speculation was first sparked when Maurizio Sarri took to shifting the 29-year-old out of his favoured holding role.
Lampard has also used Kante in a more advanced position during his reign in west London, but has seen him shine of late in the berth that made him a household name.
Another eye-catching showing sweeping up in front of the Blues’ back four was put in against Newcastle on Saturday, in a 2-0 win for Chelsea, with confidence restored to all concerned.
Lampard told reporters on the influence Kante can have when performing at the peak of his powers: “I know what you mean by quietly influential but he’s much more than that for us.
“Last year he missed 50 per cent of the games with injuries, he had a tough time for different reasons and we are working very hard on that to get him fit and fresh.
“Now we are managing his training and game time, but his levels of performances are really high.
“I keep saying every time I get asked about N’Golo that I have so much faith in him and the top midfield player that he is in world football.
“Not just breaking up and winning balls back, as we know that is a huge quality of his, but his passing and supporting in midfield and playing in that deeper role now has been a very comfortable transition for him. Really, really happy with him.”
Lampard added when asked if he considers Kante to be over the injury issues that have been holding him back: “I don’t want to tempt fate as at the minute he is going well. It’s a constant one for us where we are managing it.
“When I came in at the start of last season he had been injured from the Europa League final and that just rolled on through the year so we just chased it down from there. That was unfortunate and so unfortunate for us to lose him for 50 per cent of the games because of the level of player he is.
“We have had a better period of him to get him in a place where we are really happy with.
“We’re aware and we keep check on his training and numbers and how much distance he travels because every time you train and allow him off the leash in training he makes ridiculous output because of the way he plays.
“We are very careful with that and at the minute we are in a good place and hopefully that continues.”
Another of those to have seen a move elsewhere mooted in recent windows is Germany international defender Antonio Rudiger, but the 27-year-old was another who caught the eye against Newcastle after returning to the starting XI.
“I was pleased with his performance,” said Lampard.
“I talked about it before the game that a lot of managers would love to have five centre-backs but it brings difficulties as you can only pick two if playing in a back four and then two or three are unhappy.
“It’s not easy to come straight into a team if you’re not playing so regularly and perform. That means you need a good attitude throughout the week and a good attitude in how they prepare.
“I’ve got confidence in Toni. I think he came in and I thought his performance alongside Ku [Zouma], they were very strong. Anything that came in the box they dealt with very well. They had a lot of the ball and they moved it well.
“I’m really happy as it’s hugely important to have a strong squad this year with the schedule as it is. For Toni to come in and play and keep a clean sheet was brilliant for him and brilliant for me.”