N’Golo Kante got an immediate lesson in how much more attacking Maurizio Sarri wants Chelsea to play when he made his return to action against Lyon on Tuesday night.
The World Cup-winning midfielder returned to training at the start of the week, having been given a three-week break following his exploits in Russia, and was a second-half sub at Stamford Bridge.
Kante – who received huge cheers from the French travelling support for his World Cup heroics – came on after an hour and got a taste of Sarri-ball just three minutes later.
Under predecessor Antonio Conte, Chelsea played a more conservative and pragmatic style, with Kante breaking up play and shielding the defence.
But Sarri clearly does not want him to be solely a destroyer in the upcoming season, and the Italian’s former Napoli general Jorginho was on hand to show Kante the ropes.
Jorginho, who has been the deepest of Chelsea’s midfield three during pre-season, immediately urged Kante to push further up and instructed him to make a run in behind the defence.
He then collected the ball himself and threaded the eye of a needle to put Kante through on goal, though his effort was pushed away for a corner.
Although Kante was more of a reactive player under Conte, Sarri already looks like he wants the Frenchman to play on the front foot, pushing higher up the pitch, with Jorginho pulling strings in front of the back-line.
Ultimately, Chelsea were unable to break down a stubborn Lyon side, but did collect a penalty shootout victory in their final game before the new season thanks to summer recruit Rob Green.
Maestro Jorginho. Tells Kanté to run forward, and 5 seconds later plays a through ball to get him 1v1 with the keeper. pic.twitter.com/UACZFFH47Z
— Adepto de boas jogadas (@Pass_to_Play) August 8, 2018