Eden Hazard has praised his new team-mate N’Golo Kante by declaring that ‘he’s like a rat, he goes everywhere!’.
Kante, who is one of only three signings brought in by the club’s new head coach Antonio Conte so far this summer, was bought from defending Premier League champions Leicester City for a fee believed to be worth around £30 million. He has started all three of Chelsea’s games of the new campaign, helping them to win nine points from nine.
The Blues opened the new season against their London rivals West Ham and have since gone on to play Watford and Burnley. During those games Kante has made eight successful tackles, five interceptions and has notched up a 95% pass completion rate, showing that he has not had a problem adapting to his new club.
Conte is hoping that Kante and fellow new boy Michy Batshuayi can help Chelsea get back to the right end of the table, having finished in a disappointing tenth position last time out. They got off to their worst start to a top-flight campaign since the 1960s and manager José Mourinho paid the price. The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ was sacked in December, with Dutchman Guus Hiddink coming in to replace him. Chelsea finished the campaign with no trophies, something that is a rare occurrence under the ownership of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Hazard, who is away on international duty with his home nation of Belgium at the moment, believes that Kante is the sort of player that gives attackers the confidence to try things they may otherwise be too scored to try. Speaking ahead of Belgium’s friendly game against Spain at the weekend the Belgian forward said, “He gives us confidence. We want to try to dribble and to pass the opponent because we know, even if we try but don’t pass the opponent, and if we lose the ball, then he is there behind us and he can take the ball”.
Hazard, who struggled along with the rest of the Chelsea squad during the last Premier League season, is getting back to his best form this time around. He has already scored two goals in three games for the Blues, demonstrating that Kante’s support in games is helping him to forget about his defensive duties and concentrate solely on his attacking duties.