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Graham Potter highlights Ben Chilwell and N’Golo Kante as star performers for Chelsea in defeat to Aston Villa



(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Graham Potter has singled out Ben Chilwell and N’Golo Kante for praise in Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa.

The Blues were dominant at Stamford Bridge but an early mistake saw Unai Emery’s side take the lead as Marc Cucurella and Kalidou Koulibaly’s mix up gifted Ollie Watkins a goal.

Running onto Cucurella’s back pass, Watkins chipped Kepa Arrizabalaga in the first half before John McGinn added a fabulous second half strike to seal the three points for the Villains.

Despite the result, Chelsea dominated the statistics and registered 27 shots – their most in a Premier League game without scoring since 2014.

The match marked N’Golo Kante’s return to action since his injury against Tottenham Hotspur last year, and the midfielder looked bright from the bench.

This led to praise from head coach Potter, who is under pressure at Stamford Bridge after the Blues’ 10th loss in the league this season.

“N’Golo is a big player for us,” he told Sky Sports. “We thought he could give us runs in behind when he came on and he absolutely did.”

Potter continued to tell Chelsea’s in-house media team: “You can see the quality of the player. He’s high level.

“He affected the game, gave energy, won the ball, was dynamic. Everything you expect of N’Golo.”

It was not just the returning 31-year-old that was the subject of Potter’s praise, as he also discussed the role of Chilwell at left wing-back.

“He gave us absolutely everything,” Potter said on the England international. “Attacked the backline really well.

“There were positives for us. Doesn’t feel that way because we lost.”

Chelsea know that they must bounce back when they travel to Anfield in mid-week to face fellow strugglers Liverpool.