‘He can lose focus and be overconfident’: Rafael Benitez warns Kalidou Koulibaly he needs to ‘improve his concentration’ if he wants to succeed at Chelsea… but compares his former Napoli centre-back to Antonio Rudiger
- Ex-Chelsea coach Rafael Benitez has compared Kalidou Koulibaly to Antonio Rudiger
- Koulibaly signed for the Blues after completing a £34m move from Napoli
- The defender replaces Ruediger, who moved the club to Real Madrid on a free transfer
- Koulibaly was told by Benitez that he needed to improve his concentration
former Chelsea Manager Rafael Benitez has admitted Kalidou Koulibaly needs to improve his concentration before playing for the Blues.
But Benitez, who managed Koulibaly during his time as Napoli coach, has shared his concerns that the defender is losing focus on the pitch and tends to be “cocky”.
Those worries leave the former Blues manager in doubt as to whether the 31-year-old will be as dominant as he has been A league.
Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly joined Chelsea from Napoli in a deal worth £34million
Rafael Benitez managed Koulibaly when he was manager of Italian club Napoli
He said the athlete: “Sometimes he needs to improve his concentration.
“He can be guilty of losing focus and overconfident, but he’s been hugely influential at Napoli and people I know and trust have told me he was the best centre-back of that period was in Italy.
“This season will be Premier League for him and he could be ok for the way Tuchel wants to play.
“He has similarities with Rudiger – he’s very good with the ball, he’s good with both feet.”
‘Powered by “Is he a little too nice?” We’ll see what happens at Chelsea.
“Like I said, he was ok in Italy because he was so quick, but I doubt he’ll be that dominant here.”
Koulibaly has been signed by Chelsea to replace Antonio Rudiger, who has joined Real
Benitez has also hinted that while Koulibaly’s flying skills weren’t the best, he was always willing to improve and take advice from the coaches.
“Aerial ability wasn’t his greatest strength, but in Italy that was a little less important and he was fine,” he said.
“It will be interesting to see how that develops in the Premier League but he has always been very eager to learn.
“He spent time with me and my staff after training sessions to work on his head and improve his technique.”
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has been trying to sign Koulibaly all summer as he needed defensive reinforcements following the departure of centre-backs Ruediger and Andreas Christensen, who joined Barcelona after his contract at Stamford Bridge expired.