Gus Poyet has claimed that Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is “easily” the best defensive midfielder in the world.
Many, including Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, have put the team’s slump in form down to the absense of the 26-year-old.
The Frenchman missed three weeks due to a thigh injury, during which period the Blues won just two of five in all competitions.
Former Chelsea player Poyet believes this is all down to Kante, who he believes scouts should have picked up on before he went to Leicester.
“They missed him a lot, you could see how much the minute he came back,” Poyet told Standard Sport.
“He’s easily the best central midfielder in the world. Easily. He would play in a World XI, no doubt. I know there are players like Casemiro, Sergio Busquets but he’s better than them.
“He knows the game, when to stay, when to run and how to run well. He reads it so well he knows what is going to happen before he gets there. That way he controls it with his incredible power and finesse. Normally players like that aren’t as good on the ball as Kante is.
“It’s incredible that he went to Leicester and nobody saw him until they won the league! You do what you do, managers do what they do but how didn’t any scouts see him?”
Poyet insists there is currently a “virus” that has taken hold at Stamford Bridge which is preventing the club from challenging again the year after they win a title.
“Winning the title, it’s a virus,” he said. “After you win it the next year something goes wrong for Mourinho, Ancelotti and Conte. It’s tough and when you’re champions everyone wants to kill you.
“For Chelsea it was a very strange summer, a mess inside the club. The Costa situation was tough and so was replacing him. The new players need time to adapt and prove themselves.
“Last year, with all respect to the squad players, the team was made. This year you make one team, I make one team, he makes one team, Conte makes another team. That consistency is why they won the league… not just of selection but formation and style of play.”
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