Thursday, February 21, 2019

I am a dreamer, I want to play my football – Sarri bullish over Chelsea future

SoccerNews in English Premier League 1 Feb 2019

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Under-fire Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri sent a message to his Stamford Bridge bosses by insisting success in English football comes through continuity. 

The Blues suffered a punishing 4-0 loss at Bournemouth in midweek, prompting fresh questions over Sarri’s suitability to the job. 

Having questioned his players’ mentality following the 2-0 loss at Arsenal last month, the ex-Napoli boss saw Chelsea respond with cup victories over Tottenham and Sheffield Wednesday, with the former triumph securing a Wembley date against holders Manchester City in the EFL Cup final. 

But another lengthy dressing-room inquest was in order after Bournemouth dealt out a second-half thrashing at the Vitality Stadium, prompting Sarri to travel home separately from his team to pour over video of the match. 

The Roman Abramovich regime has not customarily shown much patience with such failure but Sarri believes the top three teams in the Premier League at the moment – Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham, operating under the settle reigns of Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino – point a clear way forward. 

Asked how long he would stick with his plan A or ‘Sarriball’ at a news conference to preview Huddersfield Town’s weekend visit, Sarri said: “I want to remember that in the first season Klopp and Liverpool were in the middle of the table. The situation in England is very clear. 

“There are three teams above the others. In one, the coach arrived five years ago [Pochettino], in one four years ago [Klopp] and in the other three years ago [Guardiola]. 

“The situation is clear – English football is in the hands of these teams because they had a plan and they were really passionate. 

“We need to work to change the mentality and to go on. The situation for me is very, very clear.” 

On whether he required reassurances from the Chelsea hierarchy, six months into a three-year contract, Sarri replied: “I don’t mind because I am a dreamer. I want to play my football. If I arrive here into this professional team, I think it is because I am a dreamer.” 

Nevertheless, the 60-year-old acknowledged the reality of recalibrating the playing style of a club steeped in a ruthless counter-attacking approach would require considerable work. 

“I think that my football is cooperation so I have to speak to my players and I have to involve them in my football more than we are doing at the moment,” Sarri explained. 

“It is not easy to change in four or five months. I need to change the mentality completely. They were used to playing in counter-attack.”

He added: “Probably [it is a tougher job than I thought] but I knew very well that it is very difficult because here the level is very high, it is very difficult because this team played another football. 

“It is very difficult because they won with another football, so it is really very difficult but we can do it, I think. 

“We can improve, we can change mentality and we can play our football. It’s not easy.”

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