Antonio Conte has issued a defence of Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko after heavy criticism from Rio Ferdinand.
Bakayoko has struggled to establish himself at Chelsea after joining from Monaco in the summer.
The midfielder failed to impress against Liverpool, and Ferdinand laid into him after his performance.
“If I was Gary Cahill out there, I’d be screaming at Bakayoko,” he said. “Defensively he’s been an absolute disgrace today.
“I don’t know what he is at the moment. He’s very athletic in terms of his build but I don’t see him upping his game pace wise at any point in the game. I’m not sure what kind of midfielder he is.”
Conte was asked about his midfielder’s displays thus far, and admitted that there is room for improvement.
“Don’t forget Bakayoko is a player very young. He’s only 22 years old,” he said.
“And for many reasons he played a lot of games. I think he needs to improve, under tactical aspect with us and to go into our idea of football.
“But, at the same time, for a young player to play with this regularity is not simple. He’s playing well.
“It’s normal you can alternate good performance with other performance less good. But I think he’s a young player, he’s working very well and I’m very happy for his commitment, for his behaviour.
“But, for sure, he has a lot of space for improvement.”