Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri believes Saturday’s heavy defeat at Chelsea cannot simply be explained by N’Golo Kante swapping clubs.
The Premier League champions went down 3-0 at Stamford Bridge as Diego Costa, Eden Hazard and Victor Moses capped a slick performance from Antonio Conte’s side.
Ranieri omitted star duo Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani from his starting line-up and has had to plot a course through this most difficult of second seasons without the services of France enforcer Kante, whose reward for a stunning Premier League debut campaign was a £30million switch to Chelsea.
However, Ranieri believes January acquisition Daniel Amartey can grow into a similarly fine player and dismissed the importance of the Frenchman’s absence, as Costa’s opening goal came from a corner, which Kante would not have defended last term.
He said of counting the cost of Kante’s departure: “Yes it is true, but Amartey can grow into that role.
“It is different kinds of player, Amartey and Kante. Also Kante wasn’t in our box last season when we have a corner against us.
“Of course, N’Golo Kante was important for us. As were all of the players. It is not only one man who changed the team. It is the brain who changed the team.
“I am very, very happy with Amartey, improving in every match.”