Maurizio Sarri loves London and loves living in London. He apparently doesn’t actually enjoy London in the sense of actually seeing it or experiencing it, but he still loves it.
“I love England, it’s my home now.
“But I’ve been to the city, the centre of London, very little as I don’t really relax. I get a little bit of relaxation during the international break, perhaps! But I do love living here, though.”
Sarri claims London still has the same charm that it did when he came to England to study finance, but one imagines he was just as lost in his books back then as he is in his tactical chalkboards these days. But! Whatever works for him, works for us.
And speaking of things that are working, Eden Hazard. He’s working about as well as he ever has, if not better. He’s must-see TV right now. Goals on goals on goals, nutmegs and flicks and tricks and dribbles ... the best player in the Premier League, and declared thusly without too much snark, even.
What’s the secret to this career-best form from the 27-year-old? Beyond just the tactical benefits of Sarri-ball (closer to the goal, less running, more possession, touches, time with the ball), Sarri’s also tuned onto Hazard’s wavelength.
“It is easy to stimulate Hazard - as long as you let him have fun. He’s very easy, it didn’t need strategies from me. He doesn’t get influenced by the media and what happens around him. As long as he’s having fun and he plays. And he loves playing football.
”But you need important objectives for important players. And he can improve if he becomes a little bit more aggressive and gives the best of himself.”
Sarri wants Hazard to notch 40 goals. That might take more fun that we could possibly muster. But if we somehow manage to do it, one of those smiling the most will be the man orchestrating it all on the pitch, Jorginho.
For Sarri, Jorginho is an example to follow not just on but off the pitch as well.
“Jorginho is really suitable to the way I like to play. He is a player that has many good sides to him. He wants to work hard and he’s very fast in moving the ball, which is important for us, although there is also Cesc Fabregas, who has the same potential as Jorginho.
”But he also has a big personality, although it may not seem like it from the outside. He’s an example on the pitch and outside the pitch and he can be an example for his team-mates.”
Helped by Jorginho’s “example”, Chelsea have done well in picking up the basics Sarri-ball without much delay. In fact, Sarri is quite surprised by their efforts and qualities.
“Yes I am surprised. I’m very lucky to have players of such quality and we’re very lucky to have this positive start because of the players. It’s true it’s a different style to last season but this team is full of players who are suitable to my style of play.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Sky
More positive vibes from Sarri. No room for bad vibes. That’s easy when you’re winning, of course. Eventually the dip in form will come and the honeymoon will be over. And then the fun might truly begin.