Maurizio Sarri has been busy giving a couple extensive interviews during the international break. The one with Chelsea official has even had to be broken into two parts — part two is now out, which you should read.
He’s also been talking with La Gazzetta dello Sport back in his native Italy, wherein he’s attempted to draw a line under his Napoli tenure at long last, while also discussing his experience at Chelsea so far.
Unsurprisingly, that latter bit is bringing him plenty of joy and happiness, and not just because he hasn’t lost a match since the Community Shield in early August.
“The results and the quality of our football are positive. 18 games without a loss, in such a competitive reality show that we’re on the right track. I’m even more happy because we play a lot and the rhythm is really tight. I can’t deny I already knew that we had a lot of commitments but I’m still looking for a good balance between training sessions and games.”
Two games a week may be fun and challenging, but the intense schedule comes at a cost. For a coach like Sarri, who seem to love training almost as much as he does playing, the brief interlude between contests don’t give him the time to address issues with a squad that’s still in its infancy when it comes to learning his tactics.
“The one thing to correct is time-related. There isn’t a lot of time between the training sessions and I think it doesn’t help the coach nor the players. It’s not even only about the physical aspect but also about the mental one.”
Chelsea may be a work in progress, but in many ways, expectations have already been exceeded. Few would’ve predicted that a team built and groomed under a half-decade of Mourinho and Conte would take even to this extent under a new head coach so stylistically opposed to pragmatic football, especially as only two significant signings were made in the summer.
Sure, Jorginho is perhaps the most crucial player to making Sarri-ball truly work, but the re-emergence of forgotten, lost, and previously sidelined players has been one of the key attention-worthy developments so far this season.
“David Luiz surprised me by his availability and cleverness, Barkley has found consistency after a long period of injuries. Willian has great qualities. His playing style is perfectly suited to the English league; Morata is a quality player, fast and technically gifted. He’s a [sensitive] person and the difficulties had hurt him.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Gazzetta dello Sport via Gianluca Di Mmarzio
Sarri’s positivity is not only a welcome change from our recent sturm und drang, it seems to be infecting his players too. And that’s going to pay dividends down the road.