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Sarri wants Chelsea to up the tempo and avoid useless possession

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“Otherwise we risk to play for 90 minutes with 75 per cent ball possession but without scoring,” warns the head coach

Maurizio Sarri continues to do his utmost to try to instill in his new Chelsea charges the basic tenets of his system, to get the team ready as best as he can for the season in the very limited time he has available. It’s not going to be an easy task, even with an on-pitch helper like Jorginho who is made for “Sarri-ball” thanks to his “technical ability” and “great mental speed”.

Sarri gave credit to the rest of the squad after Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Inter, too, but while the head coach is satisfied overall, he sees obvious and necessary areas of improvement, starting with the team’s passing game. The quality is there, but the tempo isn’t. Both are important; one without the other will result in far fewer goals.

“So far, I am satisfied. I am of course waiting for the other players from the World Cup but these players gave me total availability. So now I am satisfied. I’ve seen in the match something that we tried during the sessions. So far, so good.

”I like the sound: ‘Sarri-ball, Sarri-ball, Sarri-ball’. But I don’t know the meaning, really. Because we move the ball very quickly? This evening we moved the ball well, but I think not at the right speed.

”You have to move the ball at a great speed on the floor, otherwise we risk playing for 90 minutes with 75 percent of possession but without scoring. So we have to improve on this.”

-Maurizio Sarri; source: ESPN

Chelsea showed good tempo at times against Inter, especially early on in the game, but could not maintain those levels. Inter obviously had something to do with that as well — this wasn’t the first time Luciano Spalletti faced “Sarri-ball” after all.

“We suffered because of their superior technical quality and speed in making the ball travel. We had to run, then slowly we got comfortable. We eased up and did good things, especially in the second half...”

“When you play against teams who press, you have to put together pieces of play and quality. In the first half we didn’t always succeed, we didn’t keep the ball for long enough. They wore us down and found the gap. They didn’t find many, they took the lead after we read a piece of play wrong, but then we played how we wanted to.”

-Luciano Spalletti; source: Football Italia

Those gaps will be a lot easier to find if the ball continues to move quickly and precisely. That’s not a new idea of course, but the emphasis on it is something new to Chelsea.