Antonio Conte has admitted he did not know who N’Golo Kante was prior to his arrival at Stamford Bridge.
Conte joined Chelsea in the summer as a complete newcomer to English football having never coached outside of Italy since becoming a professional manager in 2006.
Speaking ahead of his side’s clash with Southampton on Sunday, the Italian admitted he had never heard of Kante before moving to England.
“Did I know him before I came here? The answer is no,” he said.
But Conte was quick to get up to speed though and two days after being officially unveiled as the Chelsea manager, the club had signed Kante for an estimated £30m.
Since then, the Frenchman has gone on to thrive at the Blues, growing into what Conte termed a “complete midfielder”.
“I think he’s a complete midfielder, not only a defensive midfielder,” he added.
“I like when N’Golo goes to press the play in the system we are playing now, I like it a lot. N’Golo is very good.
“I remember before the game against Leicester, many people said that he is a different player compared to last year, when he played for them.
“But I said N’Golo is playing very well at the moment and we are very pleased to have him here in the side playing for us.”
Kante opened his goal account for the Blues after adding his side’s fourth goal against Manchester United last weekend.
The 25-year-old is expected to feature once again as Chelsea travel to St Mary’s on Sunday to take on Southampton.