N’Golo Kante was the man who did most to inspire Chelsea’s stunning win over Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals, according to former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.
The Blues won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, with goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount completing a 3-1 aggregate victory which sets up an all-English final against Manchester City.
But BT Sport pundit Ferdinand said Kante was the key attacking player on display.
“Kante showed other sides of his game,” Ferdinand said.
“We all know he is a holding midfielder, someone who is tenacious has great energy and can get around the park, win second balls and retrieves the ball so well.
“But he was actually the person who instigated the best attacking play for Chelsea, winning the ball and feeding it to someone else.”
Fellow former England international Michael Owen agreed.
“Kante was unbelievable,” the former Real Madrid and Liverpool striker added.
“He smelt the opportunity, vacated an area that was his area to leave so you have to be confident you are going to win it when you take that risk and he did.
“It was a great goal and Kante was right at the heart of it, just as he was for the first goal.”
Thomas Tuchel says Chelsea can approach the final with City with confidence, having recently beaten them in the FA Cup.
“It gives us a good feeling. It gives us confidence,” the Chelsea boss declared at his post-match press conference.
“It gave us belief because it is the highest level you can face.
“They are the benchmark and we wanted to close the gap to Man City. We will need the same level of performance again.
We will arrive with self confidence and the positive energy in Istanbul.
“We will arrive in Istanbul to win, not to be one of the participants. We arrive with a clear focus to win.”