Antonio Conte has made the blunt admission that Chelsea summer signing Tiemoue Bakayoko has not yet settled after making the step up from Ligue 1 to the Premier League this season.
The France international shone for Monaco as they won the title in their domestic top flight last season, but it’s been a very different story for him since moving to Stamford Bridge.
Bakayoko has barely impressed at all and angered Chelsea fans when he got himself sent off for two yellow cards in Monday night’s humiliating 4-1 defeat away to Watford.
Conte has not attempted to deny the player is struggling, but has defended him as a youngster playing in a difficult league, and insists he will do what he can to help him adapt.
Asked about Bakayoko, the 48-year-old said: ‘For sure, he is a young player. He is only 23-years-old.
Conte on Bakayoko struggles: “For sure, he is a young player. He is only 23-years-old. Don’t forget last season he won the title in France with Monaco. He was in the Champions League but to adapt to this league is not simple. My task is to try to help him” #CFC
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) February 9, 2018
‘Don’t forget last season he won the title in France with Monaco. He was in the Champions League but to adapt to this league is not simple. My task is to try to help him.’
In fairness to Conte, he has a decent track record of getting the best out of limited players, even if he has not managed to find a formula for Bakayoko so far this season.
The Italian tactician notably saw something in Victor Moses last season that no one else had before, with the Nigerian enjoying his best ever season in the Premier League after Conte tried him out as a wing-back for the first time in his career.
Chelsea fans will now hope their manager has something up his sleeve with Bakayoko after his dire start to life in English football.