Antonio Conte warned Chelsea struggle without incredible 26-year-old

The former Chelsea assistant manager talks up N'Golo Kante's influence on the Blues team

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante Photo: Premier League

Ray Wilkins has highlighted N’Golo Kante’s importance to the Chelsea team following his influential performance in a 1-0 win against Manchester United on Sunday evening.

The France international returned to the Chelsea starting line-up for the visit of the Red Devils at Stamford Bridge last weekend.

The defensive midfielder was sidelined with a hamstring problem during the international break as Chelsea conceded 13 times in six games in all competitions in Kante’s absence.

The 26-year-old helped Chelsea to dominate the Manchester United midfield in a vital 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge to move to within a point of Jose Mourinho’s side.

Kante touched the ball 68 times and finished with 90 per cent pass completion in a brilliant performance against the Red Devils.

Former Chelsea assistant manager Wilkins admitted the defending champions struggle without Kante in their starting line-up.

“Kante came back in after a few weeks out, my goodness gracious me how fit is this young man?” Wilkins told Sky Sports News on Monday.

“He’s incredibly fit, the ground he covered in the game was just incredible. Without him there is certainly a loss.”

Chelsea signed Kante in a £30m deal from former Premier League champions Leicester City in the 2016 summer transfer window.

Kante helped the west London side to win their second title in three seasons last term after Chelsea finished seven points clear of their closest challengers Tottenham Hotspur.

The Blues are nine points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City following a return of 22 points from their opening 11 games.

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