Maurizio Sarri believes Ross Barkley has transformed into the “complete” midfielder after his starring role in Chelsea’s thumping 4-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday.
Barkley created Alvaro Morata’s opener with a deft pass before scoring in his third consecutive Premier League game after 52 minutes to double Chelsea’s advantage.
Willian and Ruben Loftus-Cheek added gloss to the scoreline as the Blues extended their unbeaten start to the season to 10 games and move up to second, two points behind leaders Liverpool.
Alongside Eden Hazard – who missed the victory over the Clarets with a back problem – former Everton man Barkley has been instrumental in the Blues’ fine start to the season, much to the delight of Sarri.
“He’s doing very well in this period,” Sarri told a media conference.
“He’s improved in the defensive phase and he has improved his physical condition because the last season for him was very difficult with a very serious injury.
3 – Ross Barkley is the first Englishman to score in three consecutive Premier League games for Chelsea since Frank Lampard in February 2013. Banked. pic.twitter.com/wNaTH5GvtD
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 28, 2018
“Now he’s improving the physical condition. He’s a very good player from a technical point of view. He’s improved the defensive phase. Now I think Ross is complete.”
Hazard also missed Chelsea’s 3-1 Europa League win over BATE on Thursday, but while admitting he is encouraged by his side’s ability to score freely without their talisman, Sarri wants the Belgium superstar back in his starting XI soon.
“I want him every match if possible,” he added.
Hazard offers something different. I am very happy as the team was able to score seven goals in two matches without Hazard. That’s a good sign.
“I want Eden as soon as possible. I’m not sure for Wednesday [against Derby County in the EFL Cup] but hopefully for Sunday [against Crystal Palace in the Premier League].”
Defeat to Sarri’s side follows a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Manchester City last weekend and Clarets’ boss Sean Dyche believes the Premier League’s giants have accelerated away from the rest.
“Ever since Leicester threw the form book out of the window [winning the title in 2016] the superpowers have moved forwards,” he said.
“They have deeper squads and it is getting more difficult to compete. If you look at the table, the only real anomaly at the moment is Manchester United.
“Chelsea are title contenders without a doubt. They have a real mixture of players, they are a top, top side. The technical and physical quality of their play is outstanding.”
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