Criticism of Maurizio Sarri’s handling of N’Golo Kante will not stop Frank Lampard from using the Chelsea midfielder in much the same manner.
Former boss Sarri exclusively deployed Kante in a box-to-box role rather than in his more familiar place in front of the defence.
The World Cup winner contributed four goals in the Premier League last season but pundits and fans alike called for him to be restored to the position in which he previously shone for Leicester City and the Blues.
Lampard resisted those pleas when he named Kante in a slightly more advanced area for the UEFA Super Cup loss to Liverpool on Wednesday, believing predecessor Sarri to have the right idea.
“It’s been a discussion that has been over-talked at times last year and that was me watching it from the outside,” Lampard said.
“The important thing for me with all of our midfield is that we have a flexibility and nobody is pinned down to an absolute structure.
“I think we saw elements of that against Liverpool where the players have a freedom to use their attributes.
“The idea that he wins the ball probably as well as anybody in world football doesn’t mean that he has to sit in front of the back four and do that.
“He also has it in his game to drive forward with the ball, to lead midfield areas and win the ball back high up the pitch.
“That’s what I want to give him the freedom to do.”
Chelsea face Kante’s former club Leicester in the Premier League on Sunday, their first match at Stamford Bridge under head coach Lampard.