Rafa Benitez has admitted that that Kenedy ‘knows he’s not playing at the level he can play’ – but has insisted that the Brazilian is not suffering with low confidence and instead struggling to adapt to a left-wing back role.
This comes after Kenedy’s disappointing display in the win over Huddersfield last weekend, with him never looking comfortable – both on and off the ball.
Here’s what Rafa said when asked if the Chelsea loanee was suffering from a lack of confidence:
“I think he knows that he’s not playing at the level he can play.
Rafa then expanded on this, suggesting that his switch from an offensive winger to a defensive wing-back has been difficult for him in recent weeks:
“Don’t forget that he’s an offensive player who we’re playing as a wing-back in a defensive formation, when sometimes he was defending two against one.
“So we have to think that he has to adjust, he has to learn, and these kind of games will be a good experience for him.”
“Tactically, for a player who is normally an offensive player to adjust his position in defence, it was not easy.”
I see what Rafa is saying here, but this is a position Kenedy almost always played when he got his chance at Chelsea. Although Chelsea would’ve had much more of the ball and much less defending to do, it’s not exactly a position he’s never played before.
Not only that, it wasn’t just about his defending or positioning last weekend, it was about his quality on the ball (or lack of it). Last season he looked like a class act on the ball, looking skilful, good technically and reliable in possession, but his touch and weight of pass has been off more time than not this season.
Let’s hope he can get regain his best form and have a good second half of the season – with his impact this time last year being one of the main reasons we went from relegation rivals to 10th.