April 24 (Reuters) - Chelsea midfielder N‘Golo Kante has developed his passing skills this season but needs to keep improving despite being named Professional Football Association’s player of the year on Sunday, manager Antonio Conte has said.
The 26-year-old France international’s ability to break up play has been key to Chelsea’s hopes of winning the Premier League title this season, with the midfielder making 110 tackles and 72 interceptions.
“He is always working to improve his weaknesses and I hope he continues in this way,” Conte told in a news conference on Monday.
”The most important thing is for the player to give continuity of performance. N‘Golo has been doing that last season and this season.
“He shows great ability to win the ball and also I think he has improved a lot with the ball. He is able to find the first pass in a vertical way and not only in a lateral way.”
League leaders Chelsea have an opportunity to provisionally extend the lead over Tottenham Hotspur to seven points when they host ninth-placed Southampton on Tuesday.
Defender Gary Cahill has recovered from illness but a final decision on his fitness will be made ahead of the kick-off on Tuesday.
However, Conte praised Cahill’s replacement Nathan Ake for his impressive display in Saturday’s 4-2 FA Cup semi-final victory over Spurs.
“It is normal to check his condition and also I want to speak with him (Cahill) tomorrow,” Conte added.
“In this case, I will be very happy if he is able to play tomorrow but also I want to underline Ake’s performance. He played a very good game.”
Following the Southampton clash, Chelsea visit Goodison Park to face sixth-placed Everton on Sunday. (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Gareth Jones)