Claudio Ranieri urges Leicester fans to welcome N'Golo Kante on return
By Lyall Thomas
Last Updated: 12/01/17 11:25pm
Claudio Ranieri has urged Leicester's supporters to give N'Golo Kante a welcome return to the King Power Stadium when Chelsea visit this weekend.
Kante was instrumental in the Foxes' Premier League title triumph last season but was the only key member of that squad to move in the summer, joining Chelsea in a £30m deal.
The France international has continued to thrive, becoming a linchpin in Antonio Conte's midfield, and Ranieri says he has not surprised Kante has done so well.
"I hope our fans give him a warm reception because he was our champion," Ranieri said. "It's important to remember what he gave us.
"I am not surprised how well he has done at Chelsea. He's very good player. But I think here he was more able to play better than [at] Chelsea. Here all the light was on him. At Chelsea there are so many champions and he's another one."
Leicester have signed defensive midfielder Wilfried Ndidi this January after failing to plug the gap Kante left last year, but Ranieri believes comparisons between the pair should not be drawn.
"Everybody compares Ndidi with N'Golo – but it's totally different," he said.
"Kante is more comparable to Nampalys Mendy. In two to three years Ndidi will go high, we believe in him that's why we paid a lot – more than for Kante – because we believe he can arrive at a top, top level.
"Now I can change more systems. Last season we had one system and beat everybody. With N'Golo we played with 12 players and the referee never counted! This season it is not the same – I found a Plan B where I change formation and players."