Sarri on his style of play, Abramovich, futures of Blues stars and where Chelsea need to improve

[/media-credit] Maurizio Sarri pledged to “have fun” as Chelsea boss

Maurizio Sarri spoke about a number of issues at a media conference on Wednesday afternoon – his first since taking over as Chelsea head coach. Here’s some of what the Italian had to say.

Sarri on being Chelsea boss

“For me this is a difficult challenge, but a fascinating one. I know it will be very difficult and here we have the strongest coaches in the world and the strongest players in the world.

“I know this will be an extremely difficult challenge for me. I have not asked anything of anyone. I want to have this experience also based on my mistakes.”

On the futures of Chelsea’s top stars

“Clearly we would always want to keep all our strongest players. This is what any manager wants to do and what any club wants to do. But then we will have to see how the transfer market will go over the next few days.”

On whether he plans to contact them

“I don’t think so, honestly, because clearly the players you are referring to are very high-level players and I would like to keep them in my squad, but a telephone call without looking at players in the eye would not give me satisfaction.

“I would like to look at them in the eye and see what is best.”

On Eden Hazard and Gary Cahill

“Hazard is a very high-level player and I think one of the top two or three European players. Obviously I would like to have fun with him because this would mean we are having very good results.”

“With Cahill, I think he can still give us a lot.”

On his role

“I want to clarify that I am more of a field manager than general manager. I don’t want to talk about the transfer market and am not that interested in it. Our task as managers is growing the players we have.”

On his style of play

“Antonio Conte has reached incredible results here and elsewhere. He is an extraordinary manager. I play in a slightly different way so it will take some time. All good things Antonio Conte did should be left and must not be changed.

“It will take some time to build a different way of playing. It is important to know how to impose one’s football philosophy in such a short time.”

On where Chelsea need to improve

“I spoke to the football club and I said a pinch of quality is lacking in centre midfield for a certain kind of play. Otherwise they’re at a very high level.

“I cannot claim to come here to Chelsea and change 20 players. I must adapt to Chelsea, I must adapt to the available players.”

On having fun

“Clearly, football can be entertaining or not, but much depends on the players. I am convinced if a team has fun, often the fans have fun too.

“My goal is to have fun as long as I’m here and possibly be competitive in all the competitions until the end.

“In life the biggest you gift you may receive is to have fun while you do your job.”

On his relationship with Roman Abramovich

Chelsea: Roman Abramovich

“Our owner is an extremely reserved person, so I don’t want to start a work relationship with him by speaking about private things.

“I think this is an extremely private relationship and I would also hope this relationship is respected.”

On his past controversies

“People make mistakes. Those who know me very well cannot define me in this way. Neither homophobic, nor sexist, or racist. Absolutely not.

“I’m an extremely open person and I do not have these kind of problems. I hope I will be able to show this when I’m working here and when I’m living here.

“These mistakes were made, yes, but when somebody makes a mistake they must apologise and accept that some allegations could be made by the press.

“A professional and ethical attitude is very important. More than apologies. I hope you will have the chance to know me better and I hope you will forget about this very quickly.

“One of these mistakes was made when I was angry. Another one was not even a mistake. It was a journalist with whom I shared a joke for three years. It was misconstrued.”

On wanting trophies

“It’s true I haven’t won anything, but I have been in Serie A for four or five years and apart from Juventus, no one has won anything.

“I think we have worked very well and the difference between working well and winning often is minimal.

“Honestly I hope I will be able to fill in this gap with the club, the difference between doing well and winning.

“If I was someone who always worried, probably I would do another job. The job means risks, but also a lot of satisfaction.

“What happened in Chelsea in the past does not concern me. I am not afraid, I don’t want to be afraid.”