Sarri on Cardiff, Terry, Chelsea duo being ill, Ampadu, Loftus-Cheek’s injury and his choice as captain

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri spoke about a number of issues at his pre-match media conference ahead of his side’s match against Cardiff. Here’s some of what the Italian had to say.

On the latest injury news

Chelsea: Cesc Fabregas

“There were some some problems with a fever and a sore throat for Emerson and Zappacosta.

“And there was a bit of a problem after the match with the national team for Loftus-Cheek with his right tibia.

“But I don’t know the situation because I have to speak to the doctor. I don’t know if tomorrow he will be able to play. I have to speak with the doctor and see the last training session.

“The best news is Fabregas. He is training with the team so now only has to improve his physical condition. I think in a few days or one week he will be ready.

“At the moment Fabregas can be available for the bench but I want to speak to him because I think it’s maybe better to have two days of training.”

On whether he would like John Terry to return as a coach

“Yes, of course. The last time I spoke with him he told me he wants to play for another season, but I don’t know the situation. This is his home of course.

“He would be a point of reference for me. But I don’t know – he told me another thing, that he wants to play. I have to speak with him.

“If he wants to play for another season I think it’s right he tries to play. But if he wants to help us I am very, very happy.

“He would be very important for everybody. But it’s up to him.”

On the title race

“At the moment I can answer Manchester City or Liverpool, at the moment. We need another step, I think, to be the same level.”

On whether Chelsea are a long way behind them

“I think so. I hope not. But it’s very difficult. The gap was 30 points at the beginning of the season.

“My feeling is that now we are not a very solid team in the defensive phase, so I feel we need to improve and my feeling is that this team can improve.”

On Ethan Ampadu impressing for Wales

© Mike Egerton/PA Wire

“I am very happy for him. At the moment it is not easy to give space to everyone. I have 28 players.

“But in the future I think I will be able to give a space to him, to give a space to Odoi and Loftus, because they are very young and they are for sure the future of the club.

“In this first period for me it was very important not to change, especially in the defensive line. But I hope in the future to be able to give space to everyone.

“In the first period it’s very difficult to change in the defensive line.”

On the international break

“I think it’s very difficult. It’s difficult for me and for every coach. I think Fifa has to change something for the national teams because with four or five international breaks it is very difficult for us. Maybe the best thing to do is to put the matches of the national teams at the end of the season.”

On who will be Chelsea captain

“I have my idea. I have decided. But before I tell you the decision I’d like to talk to my players and the club. At the moment that isn’t possible, so for the moment the captain is Azpilicueta and the final decision I will tell you after I will be able to talk with the players and the club.”

On whether Sarri will stop smoking

“Unfortunately at the moment, I am not able to stop. I am trying. My father told me to stop in the last 20 years, I think. He is the only one who put me in doubt.”

On Cardiff

“I think it will be a very difficult game because mentally the match after the break is always very difficult, particularly because we will play against a very physical team.

“If we want to gain points we need a very good performance. It’s a difficult game for everybody against Cardiff. It will be a very difficult test for us.”

On Cardiff boss Neil Warnock, who wanted Tammy Abraham, being angry he joined Aston Villa

© Mike Egerton/PA Wire

“Tammy, until two days to the end of the market, wanted to stay. In the last days there was an offer from Aston Villa and Tammy sadly decided to go there so I don’t know what to say about it (Warnock’s anger).”