Sarri on Man Utd tactics, Mourinho, injury news and the futures of Chelsea trio

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

On the latest injury news

Ethan Ampadu suffered a knee injury while playing for Wales. [Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire]

“As usual, after the national teams (play), there are some problems.

“The most serious I think is with Ampadu. Then we have a little problem with Odoi and a little problem with Barkley. But for Odoi and Barkley it is only a question of one or two days.

“The injury of Ampadu I think is serious. I don’t know how much – but serious. We hope to recover him in a couple of weeks.

“Rudiger has done better in the last two days, like Kovacic. I think they will be able to play.”

On whether he is hopeful Eden Hazard will sign a new deal

There continues to be speculation over Hazard’s future. [Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire]

“Of course. He is a fantastic player. It will be very important for us if he remains with us.

“I think also he can win everything – also the Ballon d’Or – without playing in Spain.

“For example, if Chelsea were able to win the Champions League and the Belgium team won the Euros, he would be able to win everything without playing in Spain.”

On whether he has told Hazard this

“Not at the moment because I have seen him for the first time in two weeks only yesterday. But I want to tell it to him very soon.”

On ex-Real Madrid president Ramón Calderón suggesting Hazard was being kept like a ‘slave’

“I don’t think so! It’s not true. In the last three months I have seen him always very happy.”

On United boss Jose Mourinho

“We are talking about a coach who has won everything and won everywhere, so I have to respect him. I think also that you (the media) have to respect him.

“I think he is a very good coach and a very good manager – one of the best in the world of course.”

On Mourinho’s feud with Antonio Conte

“I don’t know the problem with Antonio. On the pitch sometimes we are a little bit nervous – a bit anxious – and you can say everything in that moment. I think Conte respects Mourinho and vice-versa.”

On whether Mourinho is getting the respect he deserves

“I think no, at the moment. But I’m not really sure because I don’t want to read anything because I know in football, especially for a coach, we have positive periods and negative periods. In a negative period I want to think only with my mind and so I am trying not to read anything.”

On whether he is surprised by United’s poor results

“A little bit, but we are only talking about eight matches. They are doing well in the Champions League and they have the opportunity to improve in the Premier League. We are talking about only two months.”

On whether he expects United to try to stifle Chelsea

“I think so. But I think also that they are a very strong team – maybe player by player they are the best team in the Premier League.

“I think at the moment Manchester City is better like a team, but player by player they (United) are really very strong.”

On online abuse aimed at Chelsea Women star Karen Carney

Carney was subjected to online abuse.[Picture: Steven Paston/PA Wire]

“I don’t know what to say. It’s not acceptable. It’s disgusting.

“I watched the last match against Fiorentina. She’s a very good midfielder.”

On Chelsea’s start to the season

“I am really very happy with the results but I think we need to improve and I think we can improve.

“We have had no time to work. I had only eight players (back in training) at the beginning of August and then we have started to play every three days.

“It’s very difficult to work, to improve the team and to improve the players.

“I think we need to improve in the performance in the defensive phase because at the moment we are giving too many opportunities to the opponents.”

On reports Alvaro Morata is on the way out

Morata has scored in his last two appearances for Chelsea. [Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire]

“I think they (the media) don’t know me very well. I am not able to think about the market at the moment.

“I am completely focused on my team – on improving my team and improving my players.

“In the last month I think Morata has played better and in the last three days I have seen him do very well in training.”

On Andreas Christensen’s father suggesting the defender could seek a move

Christensen has been overlooked for much of this season.

“The father? I am not interested.

“In the first part of the season David (Luiz) and Antonio (Rudiger) have played really very well, so it’s not easy to change.

“I think also that in our last six matches, Christensen has played in three.

“So I think for his father probably the Europa League is not important, but for us it is important.”

On what Christensen needs to do

“He is very young and I think he has to improve. But I think he is a technical defender so I think he is suitable for my way of football and I think in the future he will be able to play very often.”