Sarri on Chelsea duo’s future, Hazard’s role, possible signings and his ambitious points target

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri spoke about a number of issues at a media conference ahead of the game against Leicester. Here’s what the Italian had to say. 

On whether the Premier League will miss Jose Mourinho

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

“I think so. Mourinho won everything, won everywhere.

“I like him very much as a coach and as a man. But I think he is right when he said that Manchester (United) has a future without Mourinho but also Mourinho has a great future without Manchester.

“I like him very much and I’d like to see him on the bench as soon as possible. Maybe in England. Not here!”

On the task facing Ole Gunnar Solskjær at Manchester United

“I don’t know. I remember him very well as a player – he was really a very good player.

“But I don’t know him as a coach. Of course the job will be difficult, but I don’t know him as a coach.”

On Andreas Christensen

“We have a little problem with Christensen – a little injury to his hamstring.

“The doctor told me yesterday that it’s not really very serious but he needs to rest for about a week so we will miss him for a couple of matches I think.”

On speculation over Christensen’s future

“Christensen for sure is out of the market at the moment.

“He’s an important player for us. He didn’t play very often in the Premier League but he played all the other matches.

“He is very young and he is very important. He will be more important than now in the future.”

On Danny Drinkwater

“I think he’s a very good midfielder but he is suitable for a midfield with two midfielders.

“With the three, he’s not really a central midfielder and not suitable to play centre-right or centre-left, so I think for him the problem is only my football.”

On whether Drinkwater will leave

“I don’t know. It depends on the club. It’s up to him I think. I don’t know.”

On reports linking Chelsea with Gonzalo Higuain

“I like him very much. He is a wonderful player and a wonderful man.

“But I don’t want to talk about Higuain because I have to two strikers and Gonzalo is playing for AC Milan, so I think it’s better not to talk about him at the moment.”

On Callum Wilson

“I don’t know about Wilson. Eddie (Howe, Bournemouth manager) is a friend and I want to see him very happy.”

On not playing with a recognised striker

“We started the last two matches with Eden Hazard as a striker. In the first match it was a tactical choice.

“Then I wanted to see if the solution can work in other situations or not. So I needed two or three matches to be sure that it’s the right solution.

“I explained my point of view to Giroud and we will see. At the moment the solution is good I think, because we played better a match against City and against Brighton I think we were very dangerous for 60 minutes.”

On whether Hazard will play in the same role against Leicester

“I don’t know at the moment. Giroud played for 90 minutes in the last match three days ago and Alvaro Morata has started training with the group only yesterday after 10 days, so I have to decide. We will see in the last training session.”

On whether Sarri is convinced the system is right

“I don’t know. I was sure about the match against Manchester City. With Hazard in that position we could do a good match, I was quite sure.

“Then against Brighton I started to see this situation in different matches and now I want to see the same situation in a normal match against a team very compact, with intensity.”

On Hazard’s best position

“There isn’t the best position for Hazard. Hazard is a wonderful player with a very high level of imagination and I think we need to let him be free on the pitch.

“So I think there isn’t a right position for him, but we need to have a very high level of organisation based on his movements.”

On Hazard previously saying he did not enjoy playing as striker

“He told me that he likes very much to play there. I wasn’t here last season, so I don’t know why Eden said that, but at the moment he likes very much to play there.”

On Sarri’s target of 80 points

“It’s not easy. Eighty points is a very difficult average points-per-match because you to get two points (on average) every match and it is not easy in the Premier League to gain this average.

“I think at the moment we need only to think only about this match (against Leicester).”

On Leicester

“We have to play against dangerous opponents. They are a technical team but there are two or three players who are very fast, so they are a mix and very dangerous. I think we will need a good performance to gain three points.”

On whether Chelsea are title contenders

“No, I have never seen Chelsea as a contender for the title because, as I have always said, at the moment there are two teams (Liverpool and Manchester City) a step ahead of us.”