Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri both praised and told off Eden Hazard, described Jorginho’s role and why this team is “only at 60-70 per cent capacity.”
There have been multiple reports of the Chelsea players embracing Sarri’s more laid-back approach to man-management compared to predecessor Antonio Conte.
“Hazard is immense and I don’t think even he knows how much he can still improve. I said he could end up in the tight circle of the best three or four players in the world.
“The problem is he plays to enjoy himself and at times doesn’t realise the importance of moving from fun to reaping the rewards. At the end of the day, you’ve got to get the fruits of your labour.
“Hazard’s approach is a positive, but it can become a potential limitation too. He needs to lift his head up, look around and realise there’s a whole world in front of him that he can dictate with his feet for the good of the collective and not just the individual.
“He said such kind words about me, I wasn’t expecting that. His contract expires in 2020, but he’s staying here. I was tempted to use Hazard as a centre-forward and I might consider it again in future, but it’s not the right time now. We need to believe in Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata.
“David Luiz is a really sweet guy, exemplary and professional. Cesc Fabregas has immense quality, he returned from injury and I am proud to have him with me, as he’ll give us a big hand.”
Inevitably, bringing Jorginho with him from Napoli was very helpful to get Sarri’s style of football right.
“He knows what I am asking for and understands me straight away. I arrived at Napoli with him in the balance, but now he’s a treasure and playing for the Italy squad.
“It’s all about balance. Jorginho helps and guides the others, keeping them all involved.”
Sarri insists Chelsea are not in the title race this season, as he arrives when Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola already have “years of work and continual testing, like in a laboratory.
“I’d say this Chelsea side is only at 60-70 per cent capacity right now, but how much we are missing and how much we need is not the same thing. It’s double that.”
The fans are relishing Sarri’s style of football and welcomed him with great enthusiasm.
“The whole Sarriball thing amuses me. I don’t go on social media, but I did see the fans post these videos with the most passes. If I have to be honest, the Chelsea fans aren’t even sure what Sarriball means. They invented this term, pronounce it all in one word and carry on. It’s very funny.
“It’s a dream to be here. I walked into Stamford Bridge and hear this shout: ‘Mauriziooooooo!’ Then the chants, it makes you want to pinch yourself. They usually do that for those who have won, but what have I won? I couldn’t believe it.”
Sarri is known for being a workaholic who focuses on every tiny detail in his match preparation.
“My working day usually lasts from 9am to 7pm, then two hours of viewing time for myself. It’s like a religion. I got a house 10 minutes from here, in Effingham, so they lock me up in my hermitic seal and if they knock, I don’t answer the door. I am immersed in my world.
“I achieved this almost at the age of 60. I don’t need to thank anyone other than those who cared for me, supported me and understood me, but not those who tried to exploit me.
“I spent my time in Serie C, that’s a league that grinds you down and spits you out.”
How has Sarri adapted to the change in cuisine coming to England?
“The meat is very good here, it is becoming a pleasing habit to change from fish. They cook chicken wonderfully. The priority was always getting the language right.”