Friday April 17 2020
Sarri reveals Chelsea 'conflict'

Maurizio Sarri admits he had a “conflicted” relationship with Chelsea’s players and “would never live” in England but that he “misses” the Premier League.

Sarri led Chelsea to Champions League qualification and won the Europa League with them in 2019-20, but he made a swift return to Italy with Juventus last summer.

“The higher you go up the ladder, the harder it is to build personal relationships with your players,” the 61-year-old told Juve’s official YouTube channel.

“Your surroundings change a lot and it takes longer to build those relationships. I had a conflicted relationship with the Chelsea dressing room but, when I told them I’d be leaving, many of them cried.

“I’m not so much a person who pats others on the back. I talk a lot about what they do wrong and less about the good things they do.

“I think that has a big impact, but then they learn to appreciate you for who you are. The longest relationships are with the lads I played least, so I think they recognise something once they absorb your character.

“Those who are thinking about retiring from football sometimes ask me for tips on how to coach.

“Some ask me if they can join my staff for a year. Some come to me for personal reasons because they’ve had trouble with their wife and children.

“Once a relationship starts, you can talk about anything.”

Although he is not a fan of the English lifestyle, the former Napoli boss confessed he had fallen in love with football in the country.

“You get the feeling young people get lots more opportunities in England, not just in football.

“Having said that, I would never live there. I don’t understand how Italians who live there do it...

“As for the football, it’s a different story. I miss the Premier League. It has an extraordinary technical level and an incredible atmosphere.

“I’ve never heard a chant going against someone inside a stadium and the fans all come together outside.

“The opposing fans ask you for a picture and the stadiums are always full, whatever the competition. It’s fantastic.”