Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri sympathised with Liverpool after a club-record points return was not enough to deliver the Premier League title for the Reds.
Liverpool beat Wolves 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday but finished on 97 points, one fewer than champions Manchester City, who came from behind to triumph 4-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion.
Chelsea rounded off their own campaign with a 0-0 draw away to Leicester City, a result that was enough to see Sarri’s side pip Tottenham for third place in the table.
Sarri’s Napoli piled up a club-record points total in Serie A last term only to finish behind perennial winners Juventus, with the Italian drawing parallels with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, who have a Champions League final against Spurs to comfort them.
“The season was really very difficult for us, but I think at the end we are happy because we were in trouble three months ago, we were able to react very well,” Sarri told a news conference.
“At the end we are in third position and at the end we reached the target of the club, the Champions League. We played a final against Manchester City in the EFL Cup, and before the final we played against Liverpool and Tottenham, the two finalists of the Champions League.
“Now we have to play a very important match, the final of the Europa League [against Arsenal in Baku]. So at the moment the season is very good, but the season can become wonderful. But it was really very difficult, here it is very competitive, every match is really very difficult.
“And now I think of Klopp because if you are able to gain 97 points in the Premier League without winning, it’s really very hard. I thought I was unlucky in the last season in Serie A because we arrived in second place with 91 points, so now I can understand very well the feeling of Klopp.”
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 12, 2019
Chelsea supporters have not always backed Sarri, with chanting against the Italian a common feature of games during the second half of the campaign.
But the Blues boss is hoping he gets the chance to return for a second season in charge of the Stamford Bridge club, having led them to two finals as well as a top-four Premier League finish.
“I think but I am not sure,” Sarri said when asked if he would still be in charge for the 2019-20 campaign. “I don’t know.
“I can say only that the club asked me to get into the Champions League, and we reached that target.
“I can say only this. As you know very well, I love English football. I love the Premier League, the level is really the best in the world I think, the atmosphere in the stadiums is wonderful.
“I [would] like very much to stay here.”
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