Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Sarri not convinced by Chelsea title chances

SoccerNews in English Premier League 1 Sep 2018


Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri insists it will be difficult for his side to win the Premier League, despite their impressive start to the season.

The Blues made it four wins from four in 2018-19 with a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, thanks to second-half goals from Pedro and Eden Hazard.

The is the sixth time Chelsea have won 12 points from a possible 12 at the start of a Premier League season and they have won the title in five of those campaigns, the last under Jose Mourinho in 2014-15.

Sarri, though, says there is little point speculating on their chances now given they finished 30 points behind champions Manchester City last term.

“I think that, now, for us, it’s better to think about the next match,” said Sarri. “The gap at the beginning was 30 points. I think it’s very difficult to recover this gap in only one season.

“I’m very happy with the four matches, but I think only, starting from now, about the next match.”

He continued: “I am happy with the result and I am happy with the performance. It was a very difficult game. They are very organised defensively and defended very well.

“The first half, the situation was difficult. Maybe we needed to move the ball at another speed, and maybe more movements without the ball. But in this kind of match, usually you can win in the last 20, 25 minutes. So, I was always confident.

“At the moment I’m very happy with my players. They improved very well during the week and in matches. I’m really very happy to have 12 points from four matches, but I always think we can do more. We can improve. Especially in the performance, of course. We can improve.”

Alvaro Morata had a quiet outing and was replaced by Olivier Giroud in the second half, having managed only two shots and 16 touches in his 61 minutes on the pitch.

Sarri stressed he only made the change because he felt Giroud offered a greater threat from Chelsea’s persistent crossing.

“It depends upon the situation on the pitch,” he explained. “At that moment, we crossed three, four, five times, so I thought Giroud, in that moment, was better. Only for this.

“Alvaro is improving. Maybe he needs more space, but I am lucky because, in this situation, Giroud is very useful.”

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe was disappointed to leave London with nothing but thinks Chelsea will prove a significant test for any team this year.

“I thought we did well for long periods of the game,” he said. “Chelsea are a different team this year, a totally different way of playing. They’ll be a difficult team to play against, but we nullified their strengths and had the best two chances, chances we didn’t take, and we paid the penalty for that with a cruel deflection off Steve Cook.

“I think they’ll improve as the season goes on. Maurizio has a very distinct way of playing; [it is] really difficult to play against. We prepared well and tried to nullify their threats as well as we could, tried to make it difficult for the individual talents to hurt us. The game was in the balance up to that first goal.”



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