Antonio Conte admits it hasn’t been simple dealing with N’Golo Kante‘s absence from his Chelsea side, with the Italian saying the Frenchman is fast becoming one of the “top” players in the world.

Kante has been missing since the international break when he suffered a hamstring injury in France’s 1-0 win away to Bulgaria.

Chelsea have since struggled without their key man in midfield – with the Premier League champions losing to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park and conceding eight goals in four matches in all competitions.

Conte admits Kante’s importance to the team means he has been sorely missed by the Blues because he is a “really good player”.

When asked how he had coped without Kante in the past few weeks, Conte told reporters: “For sure it is not simple. 

“For us to play without N’Golo because he is an important player for us but now the team is used to playing without him but I hope to see him back very soon with us.”

When then questioned which players in the world compared to Kante, Conte replied: “There are players with the same characteristics but N’Golo is a really good player.

“He is becoming a top player for his characteristics but in the world there are many players with the same characteristics.”