West London Sport

Chelsea boss Conte defends under-fire Bakayoko

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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has backed under-fire midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.

The France international has been strongly criticised in recent weeks, and was singled out by many following a poor display and subsequent red card in the 4-1 mauling by Watford on Monday night.

Bakayoko had made an impressive start to his Chelsea career despite being injured when he arrived and missing much of pre-season.

The 23-year-old excelled on his debut in the early-season victory over Tottenham at Wembley as well as victories over Leicester City and Atletico Madrid, but has since struggled.

Conte says Bakayoko still has much to learn.

“For sure he is a young player,” the Italian explained. “Don’t forget last season he won the title in France with Monaco and played Champions League.

“To arrive in this league and to adapt very quickly is not simple. My task is to try to help him – but not just him – and to improve all the players and understand the situation.”

Bakayoko has made 28 starts and a total of 35 appearances since joining for around £40m in the summer, scoring three goals.