Former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has opened up about what it was like to manage N’Golo Kante during his 18-month stint in charge.
Speaking on BBC One, Lampard revealed that he struggled to “hold him back in training” because Kante trains the same way he plays.
Lampard also explained why he would sometimes play Kante on the right of a midfield three rather than using him as the holding midfielder, saying that he would “be holding him back by asking him to just sit there”.
“When I arrived at Chelsea he was carrying a bit of an injury and we missed him a lot in my first season,” Lampard said.
“You seriously miss him in big games because he’s a big game player. Nobody would want to play against because of the attributes he’s got and in those big games, finals, tournaments, players like N’Golo are priceless.
“The main reason he’s so good is that he’s the best in the world at being a destructor. When I say destructor, I’m talking about winning the ball back.
“To win the ball back, there’s anticipation and having the speed to get tight and close distances like no one else in world football.
“And when he gets there he makes contact and wins balls back. He can move the ball on very quickly after that. I think his main attribute for me is his destruction, leaving areas to win balls back.
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“An old-fashioned defensive midfielder would sit in front of the back four, like Makelele for Chelsea. He has so much more to his game.”
When asked specifically about using Kante on the right, Lampard added:”I get asked it a lot. My feeling was he had so many attributes that are more than that.
“I was holding him back by asking him to just sit there. You have to allow N’Golo to travel with the ball.
“He can find passes that people don’t give him credit for. His close control in tight areas is fantastic.
“He can do multiple jobs at the same time, if you play him slightly more advanced. He can do everything.”
When asked what Kante was like to manage, Lampard explained: “He’s exactly like as you would expect from the outside.
“He’s very humble, very quiet, doesn’t want loads of conversation. The problem I found, more than anything, was trying to hold him back in training.
“Everyday you train, and you let him off the leash in an opposed session he does that. You have to try and pull him back because he just put that out and into anything he does.”