Chelsea’s Maurizio Sarri is the latest Premier League boss to call for assistance on fixture scheduling to boost English clubs’ chances in Europe.
Sarri, who is “surprised” at Chelsea’s 100 per cent start to the Premier League season, rested Eden Hazard and David Luiz for Thursday night’s opening Europa League win at PAOK in Greece.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s Premier League trip to West Ham, Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash at Liverpool and the Reds’ league visit to Stamford Bridge next Saturday, Sarri concurred with Chelsea predecessors Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte on domestic fixtures which surround European games.
Chelsea’s preparations for the Hammers clash were not helped by the fact that their flight from Greece was delayed.
They had been due to travel on Thursday evening but adverse weather conditions meant their return was put back to Friday morning.
“In Italy if you are playing in the Champions League you can ask to play the match before on a Friday or Saturday,” the former Napoli boss said.
“If you play in the Europa League away, not at home, you can ask to play on the Monday night. I think this is right.
“If you want to be competitive in Europe, I think this is right.
“In England we cannot ask this so we have to play after 64 hours. It’s not so easy.”
Sarri admits the onus is on Chelsea and other Premier League clubs to prompt the change.
For now there are few issues and Sarri hopes results in the Europa League will allow him to rotate his options for the trips to BATE Borisov in Belarus and Hungary’s Vidi in November and December, respectively.
“For an English team, it is very difficult to play in the Europa League with the Premier League rules,” the 59-year-old added.
“In this moment, maybe it is not a great problem because we have played only six matches.
“Maybe in two, three or four months it will be a problem.
“First of all, I hope to be in the Europa League in three or four months. Maybe I have to rest many players on Thursdays.
“At the moment, I hope to qualify before the last match of this group, but maybe in the future the players need to rest five, six, seven at a time.”
Hazard told Sarri after returning from the September international break with Belgium and his hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Cardiff that he was tired.
The 27-year-old playmaker is expected to return against the Hammers and has been a key figure in Sarri enjoying an impressive start to his spell as Chelsea boss.
Sarri did not expect such a string of results, but he knows in the Premier League danger lurks at every turn and is not underestimating a West Ham side he rates highly despite having just one win from five games.
“I am surprised,” Sarri added.
“In Naples, the beginning was very difficult. Not for a long time but the first month was very difficult.
“Here, at the moment, I am very happy. I am very happy with the situation, I am very happy with the players, I am very happy with the club.
“I know that the Premier League is a very competitive competition. I know that in the future, probably, I will have to face some difficulties.
“I have seen the five matches of West Ham in the Premier League. I think they are a very good team.
“They changed in the last match against Everton, from 4-2-3-1 to 4-1-4-1. They played very well.
“I think the position in the table of West Ham is not reality.”