Sarri on his tactics, Higuain’s condition, Cahill, Loftus-Cheek – and whether he agrees with Prince William
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri spoke about a number of issues at a media conference ahead of game against Fulham. Here’s some of what the Italian had to say.
On Fulham sacking his friend Claudio Ranieri
“I am really very sorry but I know very well his character so I know we will see him very soon.
“It was really a very difficult situation from the beginning. It is not easy to be able to do the same job in two different situations. He was unlucky.
“The situation there is difficult but I think they also have opportunities for saving (staying up) and so we have to play a very difficult derby match. We need another very good performance.
“He will be hurting a lot of course, it’s normal, but he is very strong and in a few days he will be able to think to the future.”
On whether Fulham might respond well to the change
“Maybe. Usually when there is a change of coach there is a reaction and so we have to front (face) the reaction.
“It is very difficult to prepare for the match because we don’t know the new system and the new ideas. So it’s a very difficult match.”
On whether Kepa will return
“The Kepa situation is now closed. Kepa is our first goalkeeper but we are very happy for Willy (Caballero) because we know very well he is also able to play in a difficult match.
“I am sure that in one or two of the next matches Kepa will be on the pitch.”
On whether he has made a decision on Kepa
“No. Not at the moment. I want to see the last two training sessions of course – for every player.”
On making changes
“We need to value the recovery because we played for 130 minutes (against Manchester City) and 95 minutes (against Tottenham) on Wednesday).
“We ran for 15km on Sunday on average (per player) and the average of the last match was 12km so we need to consider it.
“I think we need to change three or four players. I don’t know how many but we need to change something.”
On whether Chelsea can find some consistency
“In the last three matches we have been consistent. We beat Malmo, drew in 90 minutes with Manchester City and beat Tottenham and now we need to continue with the performances. The result is only a consequence.”
On Ruben Loftus-Cheek
“In the last match I wanted more physical impact in the last 20 minutes because I was afraid that probably there was a lot of balls in our box and so I wanted more physical impact.
“I think that then we were able to defend before our box better and he entered on the pitch well.”
On whether he has now found the right tactics
“It depends on the match, on the physical condition and it depends on the opponents. We were right against Manchester City to wait in our half.
“We started in another way in the last match, then the physical condition lowered of course, and we started to play different in the second half. But it depends on the situation.”
On Gonzalo Higuain
“I think the contribution was really very good in the last match – he was able to play with team-mates very well.
“I think that now he needs more acceleration. He is without the acceleration he had in Naples for example.
“So I think he needs to improve in the physical condition – especially the acceleration – and then he will be able to score of course.”
On whether Higuain must improve to be signed permanently
“I don’t know. At the moment I think it is better for us to think only about Fulham. You are in the future – too much in the future.”
On Gary Cahill
“I know that very well he is the last year of the contract. I know there are some problems for a new contact but you have to ask the club I think.
“He is training with his team-mates of course. I know very well in the dressing room he is very important and so we use him in the right way I think because every player and member of the staff knows very well he is important.”
On Prince William suggesting that clubs should do more to look after the mental health of players
“Sometimes it’s your (the media’s) fault because you put too much pressure on the English young players. Sometimes here in England I think it’s too much.
“Every club is a business and we have to accept it. I don’t agree, personally, but I have to live in this world. Every club is a business, especially in the last 10 years.”