N’Golo Kante has had his say about his potentially being a strong candidate for Ballon d’Or this year as he explained how Thomas Tuchel has helped him grow as a player at Chelsea.
Many fans, pundits, and even fellow professionals see Kante as a strong contender for the prestigious award after his performances this season.
His displays in the knock-out stages of the Champions League for Chelsea, in particular, have really impressed a lot of people.
Kante himself, however, felt that “it was too early to talk about it now”.
“There are still six months to go, many matches and competition,” the France international insisted (via Le Parisien).
“It’s not necessary to say that I deserve it now. I finished in the top-10 a few years ago [eighth place in Ballon d’Or rankings in 2017].
“It feels good, but to win it is a different story. It is a great individual reward for the players.
“I see it as the result of a season. It’s not necessarily a target or something I’m working on.”
Tuchel has helped him grow, says Kante.
But the energetic midfielder seems to be aware that he “grown” as a player, and he said that Chelsea boss Tuchel has played a big part in it.
“This year has been difficult at times. But we had the chance to go far in the Champions League and it went well for me,” he added.
“The new coach [Tuchel] has given me more control on the pitch, which has freed me up.
“Maybe I’m seen a bit more offensively.
“At Caen, I already had this aspect in my game. But it was less obvious.
“I need to be even more technically precise in the last 30 metres, be more selfish, take my chances and be brave.”
Well, even Juventus midfielder and Kante’s France midfield partner, Adrien Rabiot, seemed to be impressed by the Chelsea midfielder’s “enormous” improvement.
Jose Mourinho praised Chelsea star.
Jose Mourinho has lavished praise on the “intelligent” Mason Mount following his sparkling form for Chelsea FC this season.
The England international has been earning lots of new admirers following his excellent performances for the south west London side under Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel.
Mount was given the chance to shine in the Chelsea FC team under Lampard last season and he continued to improve his performances this term as he helped the Blues claim a top-four finish in the Premier League and win the Champions League.
The 22-year-old scored nine goals in all competitions for the Blues as he helped them to win the Champions League by beating Manchester City in the final last month.
Former Manchester United and Chelsea FC manager Mourinho has been highly impressed by what he has seen from Mount in a Blues shirt lately and he believes that the midfielder has Lampard to thank.
Speaking to The Times, Mourinho said: “I have to be honest, I watched him two seasons ago in his first [Premier League] match, Manchester United against Chelsea at Old Trafford, and I saw the talent but I didn’t see maturity or consistency.
“I put a little bit of a question mark over how long this boy would need to develop and become a complete player. He didn’t need long.
“I think he has to thank Frank [Lampard] because even with results not being wonderful he was always keeping faith in that kid. He gave him incredible conditions to develop.
“I believe he is an attack-minded player, a creative player, but he has the tactical discipline.
“Mount is a team player. We see him now with [Thomas] Tuchel coming from the sides, when with Frank he was more of a No 10. When they play with a back five he can be the third attacking player or the third midfield player.
“I think he is very, very intelligent on the pitch. From what I see, he has a very good understanding of the game.
“He has goals, which is an important thing for a midfield player. I like him very much.”