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Unbeaten Chelsea operating only at ‘60-70%’ capacity but need to be at ‘double that’

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Sarri reflects on how far Chelsea have come in his first couple months in charge

Huddersfield Town v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Maurizio Sarri may believe Chelsea are “having fun now” and may be quite happy with how quickly the team is adapting to his tactics — there is a limit to how grumpy and pessimistic one can be when staring an 11-match unbeaten run (9 wins) in the face, after all — but he doesn’t think Chelsea are operating at or even close to full capacity, and he certainly doesn’t think Chelsea are operating anywhere near the level that would be needed to usurp Manchester City or Liverpool.

In his lengthy, exclusive interview at Cobham with Hot Days Pedullà, Sarri rated Chelsea’s current output at about two-thirds full capacity, but also revealed that full capacity isn’t the usual 100% in this case, but rather something along the lines of 120-130%, or double the current work.

“[Guardiola & Klopp have had] 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.”

While we could sit here endlessly debating the validity of the concept of achieving more than 100%, Sarri himself seems to be on a mission to squeeze more hours out of the day than it is cosmically possible.

“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.”

It’s a good thing the fans at the Bridge have saved their chanting for Maurizio for when he’s there during the games, so at least he can hear them then in all their glorious unoriginality — replacing “Antoniooooo” with “Mauriziooooo” is wonderful, if probably unintended commentary on modern football though.

Sarri appreciates the intent, regardless, even if he’s not a fan of the idolization of his tactics in general.

“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.”

-Maurizio Sarri; source: CdS via Football Italia

He may not have won anything yet, but if this is what 60-70% capacity Chelsea looks like, I can’t wait for the 100% version!