Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has heaped praise on N’Golo Kante for his tireless performance against Liverpool in the Super Cup final.
The midfielder put in a stellar display on his return from injury for the Istanbul showpiece, despite the Blues’ eventual shoot-out defeat.
Lampard was delighted with the entire team, but singled out Kante in particular as the standout player.
He said: “He’s not trained that much, I’ve had to protect him because he’s played and played and played for years and he had a serious injury.
“He said to me at half-time in extra-time that his legs were finished, his legs were dead – and then he’s sprinting 50 yards to cover.
“We know how important he is to this club and we’re delighted to have him.
“And you saw the difference he made tonight.”
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Last year, Maurizio Sarri was blasted for playing Kante in a more advanced role.
But the nimble midfielder has revealed he enjoys playing in that position.
“I like to play in this position, this is where I played last year,” he said. “The coach asked me to play in this position, I like to do it.
“I know what to do with my teammates and we played a good game tonight.”
Meanwhile, Lampard has insisted social media sites must do more to weed out online trolls after Tammy Abraham received racist abuse following the defeat to Liverpool.
The England international saw his penalty saved in the shoot-out and was targeted on Twitter as a result.
A Chelsea spokesman described the posts as ‘abhorrent’, with the club promising the ‘strongest possible action’ if any of their fans are proven to be involved, while Kick It Out also condemned the actions.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s Premier League visit of Leicester, Lampard said he was left ‘disgusted’ by one particular post.
“Obviously Tammy is disappointed,” he said. “Who wouldn’t be? He’s more than disappointed, that’s probably the wrong word. I am particularly disgusted by the (one) so-called Chelsea fan.
“To see the different ends of the spectrum of the evening: Tammy Abraham asked me to take the fifth penalty because he wanted to take it, wanted to stand up and be brave on a big night when the world is watching.
“At the same time, within moments or hours afterwards, somebody sitting behind a keyboard or a phone has said the most disgusting things possible.
“I don’t know how these platforms are allowed that you can do it. It is too easy to be done. Something needs to be done as well as people changing their mindsets completely.
“That might not be easy with everybody but I am so angry for Tammy, angry for us as a club because that’s not what we are about.
“The club does a lot of work against discrimination of all levels and it is a setback when these things happen.”