Antonio Conte has backed Tiemoue Bakayoko amid criticism of his performance against Liverpool but admitted the Chelsea midfielder has space to improve as a player.

After recovering from knee surgery, which he underwent at the end of last season at former club Monaco, Bakayoko moved to Chelsea and has been preferred by Conte at the heart of his midfield alongside either N’Golo Kante or Cesc Fabregas.

The 23-year-old France international started Chelsea’s game away to Liverpool on Saturday as part of a three-man midfield but, after inadvertently playing a part in Mohamed Salah’s opener, he was taken off and replaced by Pedro.

But Conte has praised Bakayoko, insisting the midfielder has demonstrated the right attitude and commitment in training, although he conceded that the midfielder can still improve tactically.

Conte told reporters at Cobham: “Don’t forget Bakayoko is a player very young. He’s only 22 years old.

“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…

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